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The reality of deer: They're only cute sometimes

One Trumbull resident has a problem with deer.

Trumbull resident Chris Coulter is not a fan of Bambi.

Deer have been damaging his yard on Reading Road, he says. His home is near Great Oak Park, which is undeveloped forest.

"At times we've see up to six to eight deer in our yard. Lately they appear throughout the day at all hours. They've come up to within I'd say about 2-3 feet from our house! There are numerous piles of droppings all over the yard and they obviously munch on all kinds of flowers and plants. They simply destroy foliage. They used to be skittish, and would run away, now they just stare at you when you say "shoo"! They've become quite brazen," he said.

"It's funny, when I was a kid, you didn't see them much, and when you did it
was 'Oh how cute, how beautiful...' Now I despise them and I feel they're a
definite menace and need to be controlled," he added.

According to the Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance, as of August 2010, the economic impact of deer on Trumbull, in several categories, was calculated at:

  • $8.8 million in environment and landscape;
  • About $682,000 in motor vehicle;
  • $1.5 million in tick control;
  • $830,914 in tick-borne diseases, for a total of $11,820,930;
  • $337 per capita, and $1,077 for a single-family household.

Trumbull has a real issue with deer, according to Pam Georgas, Chairwoman of the Trumbull Nature & Arts Commission and a DEEP Master Wildlife Conservationist. 

"Deer in Fairfield County far exceed the recommended population (we have around 30+ per square mile), so it is a serious problem. Deer are considered generalist, so if populations are high they will eat whatever is available. There are some plants that they prefer, and eat like potato chips, and others they would choose as a second course," she said.

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"Although high levels would likely have to be ingested in large quantities to have an effect, toxic plants can deter deer into leaving a plant alone. Plants with high aromas are less desirable to deer. Deer do not like fuzzy foliage. Plants with thorns and needles can also be less likely disturbed," she added.

Fencing is another solution, but should be more than eight feet tall, according to Georgas. 

"You can install string running along the top of your fence or attach balloons, both of which they do not like. There are are ultrasonic devices out there now on the market, but the effectiveness has not really been evaluated," she said.

Deer can also wreak havoc on forests. 

"At high populations they can do serious damage to forests, and plant diversity, and have negative impact on the survival of other wildlife species. Because deer don' t have many natural predators and deer have a high potential for reproduction, they can effectively double their population in two years' time. Historic trend; we went from 12 deer in 1896 to an estimated 126,000 in 2006," Georgas said.

So Coulter, who has lived in house for 30 years, is considering a fence. 

"It looks like after over 30 years of owning my house here, I'm going to have
to shell out money to get fencing installed, which MAYBE will help," he said.

Finally, he noted, "My wife accidentally hit a deer last year in our area,
as did my daughter's boyfriend. The (scenic) Merritt Pky is consistently
littered with dead car-stricken deer. And I should say we see the deer in
our yard EVERY day."

John Massari July 09, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I am a bowhunting instructor with the CT DEEP and a Trumbull resident. For help with such problems email me for deer control options (ctbowhunter@hotmail.com)
Aaron Leo (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Thanks for the introduction and for reading Patch!
gail jarvis July 09, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I too have the same Deer Infested Problem. Even my two yappy dogs do not deter these Bambis. They have become multi-generational residents--so "us folks" offer No deterent to these Bamabis. So many times people feel they have "hit a deer"--when in fact the Deer happen to "hit you" on the run. 30 + deer per sq. mi.-----OUCH!!!!
Dan Beyer July 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Deer do need to be managed especially in Fairfield county where they are exceeding the lands carrying capacity. For assistance we welcome you to visit www.findahunter.com for a list of available hunters in your area along with suggested interview questions and more. Also suggest to your selected hunter that they donate to the www.hunttofeed.com program which provides thousands of pounds annually to the CT Food Bank and various other non profit organizations helping those in need with nutritious lean protein. It is a win win for the entire community.
Francis July 11, 2012 at 07:28 PM
"Trumbull has a real issue with deer, according to Pam Georgas, Chairwoman of the Trumbull Nature & Arts Commission and a DEEP Master Wildlife Conservationist. " That's funny, Pam. I grew up in Trumbull. I am now 59 years old. If you ask me, it is not the deer whose reproduction should be halted; it is the humans. There is simply no reason for people to keep pumping out babies who will never be able to find jobs and support themselves. It began with Henry Ford and the assembly line and computers have only greatly accelerated the problem. Instead of worrying about deer eating their plants, they should be worried about their children and grandchildren having no future. And really, I liked Trumbull better when there was a mile of woods between my parent's home and the next door neighbor! (And the local dairy farmer delivered a case of milk to your door!)
Pam Georgas July 11, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Francis, I will agree with you that humans are indeed a big problem in the sustainability of our planet. I cant say I agree we should just stop reproducing and that will solve the problem. We need to better educate the public on the 'Bigger', 'big picture', and that is protecting our earth for sustainability and diversity of plant and wildlife. We often talk about the 'big picture', but leaders often are referring to the big picture as; reducing taxes, creating jobs, economical growth, and our healthcare, etc. We are focused mostly on satisfying our immediate human needs. The bigger 'big picture' is about sustaining a healthy planet, so that we and the other species we share this world with, will survive. Because we are not at the brink of human extinction it remains as a back-burner priority for many leaders. However 100's of species are at risk of extinction, and this is mainly because of imbalance in the environment. I will write a separate blog on this topic soon, on the 'Bigger', big picture; Sustaining our planet through Conservation management. Yes, we humans are directly responsible for much of the imbalance, which is why I think it is now our responsibility to actively manage balance of diversity and habitats. It is a matter of taking responsibility for the mess we created.
Pam Georgas July 11, 2012 at 09:33 PM
And just to clarify, I am not 'as' concerned with the cultural carrying capacity of deer (what us humans are willing to tolerate, i.e, deer eating our pretty petunias, etc), as I am the biological carrying capacity (what population of deer and other wildlife species can maintain to create a healthy ecological balance in Fairfield County) Imagine if the human population doubled in Trumbull every 2-3 years, like the deer can.
Dan Beyer July 18, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Hi Pam - sorry for the delayed reply. Many have studied that based upon Fairfield's ecological landscape the proper balance of the lands carrying capacity to deer would be 10 to 15 per square mile where as current fly over estimates from the DEEP is 60+ deer/ sq. mile I hope this helps put things into perspective.
Pam Georgas July 18, 2012 at 01:24 AM
thanks Dan, yes I had heard that number of 60 deer per square mile in our area, but I didn't have the data to back it, so i went with the conservative number of 30+, which is a number from a few years back. This info illustrates how severe the problem is, and one can only image the effects it will have on the ecosystem, as the deer population continues to double every few years

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