150 deer taken in last season

The number of deer taken by hunters in Wilton last year remained steady when compared to 2012 numbers.

In 2013, hunters took 29 deer by firearms and 121 by bow, according to Department of Energy and Environmental Protection data. In 2012, hunters took 35 by firearms and 121 by bow.

Wilton’s director of environmental affairs, Patricia Sesto, said Tuesday the large divide between the number of deer taken by firearms compared to bow and arrow is normal for the town.

Because Wilton is densely populated, she said, “it’s not uncommon for our firearms numbers to be low, because [to take a deer with a rifle] you have to be hunting on 10 acres or more.”

For shotgun and muzzleloader hunting, the restrictions are even tighter, as hunters may not take deer within 500 feet of a possibly inhabited building, like a house or barn.

Wilton’s numbers, as well as most area towns, were consistent from 2012 to 2013. Towns like Newtown have larger numbers because they are geographically larger.

As environmentally damaging animals, deer pose a threat to conservation efforts throughout Wilton. In an effort to help curb the deer population — which currently stands around 1,350 — the town’s Deer Committee consistently works to recruit private property owners to allow hunters on their land.

“We keep trying to effect change,” Ms. Sesto said. “We’re constantly shuffling parcels to maximize our results, but then you get a snowstorm, or it’s too rainy, or it’s too windy. The variables mess with our intent every year.”

One suggestion the state DEEP recently made to hunters is to set up a time-lapse camera and an automatic deer-feeder in areas where they usually hunt.

As a defense mechanism, Ms. Sesto said, deer have learned to become nocturnal animals to avoid human hunters. However, if hunters use automatic feeders, they can encourage deer to change their behavior — making them easier to hunt.