Hunting season closes 19 Wilton preserves
WILTON — People planning to take a walk during the next few months will have fewer places to choose from now that deer hunting season is underway.
For most of the properties, the season began Sept. 15. One property was closed as of Oct. 5, and four will close Nov. 1. Most will be closed through Jan. 31. Detailed information is available on the environmental affairs page of wiltonct.org.
Town properties are Vista Road Property, Belknap Preserve, Sackett Preserve and Wrens Thicket.
Parcels owned by South Norwalk Electric & Water are City Lake, Popes Pond, Crystal Lake, Diversion Parcel, and Comstock.
Wilton Land Conservation Trust properties are:
Vista surrounding properties
Van Haelewyn-Richards Preserve
Chessor Lane parcel
St. Johns/Chicken Street parcel
Seeley Road/Pen Central parcel
Middlebrook Farm parcels
Thayer Pond parcel
Some of the properties will be closed to hunting and open to the community on Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 24-25: Vista and surrounding properties, Belknap, Sackett, Van Haelewyn-Richards, and Slaughter Fields. There is no hunting on Sundays in Sackett Preserve and Van Haelewyn-Richards Preserve.
Property owners may also invite licensed hunters to hunt on their property in accordance with state and town laws. In addition to holding a state-issued hunting license and passing hunter safety courses, all hunters on private property must pass a background check conducted by Wilton police and have a written permission slip from the property owner. According to Environmental Affairs Director Mike Conklin, no new names were added to the list of hunters approved in previous years and this season’s program is now closed.
The town has allowed hunting for many years in an effort to control the deer population, which is considered too high. Too many deer contribute to overbrowsing of native plants and the understory in forests, increased rates of tickborne diseases, and collisions with motor vehicles.
According to the 2018 Connecticut Deer Program Summary published by the state, there were 115 deer killed by hunters in Wilton. Across the state, there were 11,913 taken.
The state surveys hunters on their perceptions of the deer population in general and the abundance of predator animals. Nearly 4,000 responded.
In 2018, 36 percent thought the deer population was decreasing, 48 percent thought it was stable, and 16 percent thought it was increasing.
Hunters also reported 1,775 bears in 116 towns, 2,664 bobcat sightings in 158 towns and 8,307 coyote sightings in 165 towns, nearly every municipality in the state.