The Nature Conservancy Begins Hunting Deer in Connecticut; the Catholic Church on Long Island Curtails a Hunt
These aren't recreational hunting programs; they're hunts organized to reduce the number of deer in overpopulated areas. Although it's too bad the Long Island hunt is not continuing, the Nature Conservancy's participation in Connecticut indicates that hunting to bring down deer populations has entered the mainstream (keep in mind that Audubon Connecticut has been culling deer from its preserves in Greenwich). The Nature Conservancy seems to think it's working. According to the Hartford Courant:
The deer management programs have paid dividends, the conservancy states.
"We've been actively managing deer populations in some of our preserves for years now, and we're seeing results," Carabetta said. "Pink lady-slipper are returning to places where we haven't seen them in years."
Conservancy officials report the Burnham preserve has been damaged by an abundance of deer, with the under story of the forest almost non-existent.
Birds that nest and feed on or near the ground have lost the groundcover essential for protection from predators, the organization said, noting few seedlings have a chance to grow because of hungry deer.
"Managing the deer population is essential to maintaining the health of these preserves," said Lisa Hanners, the conservancy director Connecticut.
"At high numbers, we know that deer restrict the growth of new trees, shrubs and flowers. Without some sort of management, the quality of the forests at these preserves will continue to suffer." Hanners said.
But across the Sound, a hunting program in Lloyd Harbor is on hold. From Newsday:
The state parks department on Tuesday planned to review its decision to cull the herd at Caumsett State Park after the Diocese of Rockville Centre suspended the practice at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Lloyd Harbor.
Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the diocese, said a new rector at the seminary wanted to assess the situation after protests from animal rights advocates.