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 April 24, 2005 at approximately 7:00 p.m.


        The following members were present:

                Douglas Barile

                Tom Belote

                Guy Bocchino

                Tom Castellani

                Helene Daly

                Matthew Denesuk

                Penny Hoffman

                Peter Keeler

                Sid Kelley

                Lee Pepin

                Jack Sanders

                Raymond Sementini

                Pat Sesto

                Gwen Thaxter

                Tom Venus


        Ms. Sesto chaired the meeting.  John Roche of the Ridgefield Police Department was present.  Nancy McDaniel was present to take minutes.




The minutes of the April 12, 2005 meetings were reviewed.  Mr. Venus noted that he said that Ridgefield’s deer/vehicle accidents, not deer population, were the highest in Connecticut.


Upon motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, it was

RESOLVED, that the corrected minutes of the meeting of April 12, 2005 be and hereby are approved and ordered filed in the minute book of the Committee and the Town Hall minute book.




Review Draft Report Segments – Members focused on the structure of the report.  Mr. Sanders suggested a section on the human component of each problem area, i.e., the effect of people’s gardening and property improvements.  The group agreed to include human behavior in the report.  Ms. Sesto said that the fourth section will be devoted to residential landscape issues.  Mr. Sanders will write an outline with input from Mr. Pepin and Ms. Sesto.


Ms. Sesto recommended identifying the information that was presented to the Committee as opposed to general research data.  After discussion, members agreed to a “paper trail” showing the origin of the data without labeling it in the body of the report.


Ms. Hoffman liked the format of the Lyme Disease report and thought it would be helpful to include definitions of terms as well as examples to back up statements.  Ms. Sesto favored an executive summary.


Ms. Thaxter stated her position that the Committee was acting before acquiring an understanding of the problem.  She urged the involvement of Yale to define the problem before supporting any solutions.  Members discussed a parallel approach that would allow culling while pursuing studies with Yale and other organizations.  These studies should continue over time.


Ms. Thaxter demurred.  She did not want to follow other towns’ leads and thought that Ridgefield should take a fresh approach; however, the other members agreed that the deer population is too high and that culling is the only feasible method for reducing it. 


Mr. Denesuk said that the problem is not the lack of studies.  It is the issue of hunting and the opposition to it by some people.  Ms. Hoffman commented that the Committee’s charge is to define the problem and then let the Selectmen choose the appropriate action. 


Mr. Barile referred to the consensus reached at the last meeting which was that there is a need to reduce the deer population.  Having reached that conclusion, the Committee should be focused on solutions, not further studies.


Ms. Hoffman moved, and Mr. Sanders seconded, that Ms. Thaxter write a minority report to be filed with the Committee report.  The sense of the members was that a minority report would undermine the main report.  Ms. Hoffman withdrew her motion.


Mr. Belote reminded the members that the Committee will dissolve after presenting its report.  The Selectmen will then create an implementation committee.  So it is important to move forward with the report. 


The report will contain an overview, discussion of the three problems, definitions and recommendations.  Sections on landscape recommendations and deer management were added to the content.  A portfolio of solutions will be included.


Mr. Venus’ speculation on introducing a herd of sterile deer introduced the subject of contraception.  It will be stated in the report that contraception is not effective at present.


Ms. Sesto assigned the following homework:

Ms. Thaxter – her approach for next steps

Ms. Hoffman – statement on contraception

Messrs. Sanders, Pepin, Ms. Sesto – report on landscaping issues

Mr. Bocchino – report on the human aspects of  deer/automobile



Mr. Barile invited the Committee to a seminar on Lyme Disease on May 14.


Public Comment – Dan Byer of White Tail Solutions asked if a date had been set to present the report to the Selectmen.  The answer was no.


Next Agenda





The next meeting will be on May 10, 2004 in the Copper Beach Room of the Recreation Center.




Ms. Sesto adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.




Respectfully submitted,


Nancy McDaniel