Ridgefield Deer Committee
Ridgefield Recreation Center
195 Danbury Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877
A meeting of the Ridgefield Deer Committee was held in the Copper Beech Room of the Ridgefield Recreation Center, 195 Danbury Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877 on November 9, 2004 at approximately 7:00 p.m.
The following members were present:
Mr. Belote chaired the meeting. Rudy Marconi, First Selectman, and John Roche of the Ridgefield Police Department were present. Nancy McDaniel was present to take minutes.
The minutes of the October 25, 2004 meeting were reviewed. Mr. Denesuk corrected the record in stating that he was present at the meeting.
Upon motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, it was
RESOLVED, that the corrected minutes of the meeting of October 25, 2004 be and hereby are approved and ordered filed in the minute book of the Committee and the Town Hall minute book.
Schedule of Speakers – Laura Simon of the Fund for Animals will speak on December 14, and Os Schmitz, Ph.D. will speak on January 11. Kirby Stafford, CT entomologist, will speak at a date yet to be confirmed, as will volunteers from the towns of Wilton, New Canaan, Darien and Greenwich. Mr. Belote asked John Frey about securing the new commissioner of DEP for a presentation. Ms. Hoffman expressed an interest in hearing Steven Phillips, M.D. discuss Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases.
Ridgefield Press Editorial – In commenting on the editorial, members observed that their charge is to present a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen, not call for a referendum. Mr. Marconi stated that a referendum has not been considered because the Board will not act on the issue until the Committee report has been submitted.
Timing of Report to Board of Selectmen – The target date for submitting the Committee’s report is February, 2005.
Where Do We Go from Here? - Mr. Barile commented that the Committee should agree on a hierarchy of questions which, when systematically answered, would lead to clear conclusions about the deer problem. He suggested the following format:
Several members mentioned the importance of obtaining data from other towns before coming to a decision.
Mr. Belote suggested a straw vote on whether or not Ridgefield has a deer problem. The majority of members agreed that, based on health issues, automobile accidents, damage to plant material and starvation of deer, the town does have a deer problem. Two members demurred, saying that they did not have enough information to make a judgment. Ms. Thaxter emphasized the need for real data and details on how it was collected.
Discussion followed on the efficacy of taking a deer census. Mr. Belote will inquire about the method Greenwich used in its survey.
Members agreed that it would be acceptable to explore solutions to the problem before achieving unanimity on the question of whether or not there is a deer problem. Some open questions that future speakers might address are:
What are lethal methods of control?
What is the equipment that hunters use?
What are controlled hunts?
What are the financial considerations?
Mr. Marconi suggested breaking the group into subcommittees that would research specific questions. Mr. Belote asked each member to email to him and to Ms. McDaniel (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 16 all questions that they want answered and the names of speakers they wish to hear. Members who are interested in serving on a subcommittee are asked to notify Mr. Belote.
Presentation by John Roche – Major Roche displayed a map of the town showing sites of deer kills. During the period of January, 1999 to December 31, 2003, 334 deer accidents occurred. In that timeframe, 646 deer were either killed or tagged. The majority of incidents happened along roads with high volumes of traffic, but high vehicular speed was not considered a cause. Migration patterns and location of open space had not been factored into the data. The average repair cost of cars hit by deer is $1200. Cost to the police department in investigating and reporting accidents is substantial.
The next meeting will be on November 22, 2004 in the Copper Beach Room of the Recreation Center.
Noting that the remainder of the agenda will be addressed at the next meeting, Mr. Belote adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.