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Deer and Water Quality

Deer populations, unchecked by predators or management, have grown to exceed 100 deer per square mile in some areas. It is generally accepted that deer densities above 20 deer per square mile are detrimental to the ecosystem.

In 1998, the Regional Water Authority authored a report that recommended further research and monitoring of the deer population on our properties. In 2006, another report was prepared incorporating the latest studies and experiences with deer management. The second report recommended managing the deer population with a controlled archery hunt as part of our deer management program. The benefits of successfully reducing deer density include:

The first two points can impact water quality, as a rich, diverse forest ecosystem controls erosion and locks up nutrients that can fuel algal blooms in reservoirs.

Bow hunting is allowed each year on RWA-owned land in North Branford, Seymour, Ansonia,  Prospect and Bethany. Applicants choose which location they prefer. Hunters are assigned to sites based on acreage of that area. Once assigned to a location, hunters are allowed to hunt only that site. The hunt takes place throughout the month of November.   

The RWA distributes 205 permits each season. Some permits are reserved for hunters who harvested a doe and those who volunteered at our check station during the previous year’s hunt.  The remaining permits are distributed by lottery. Applications are sent to interested parties by mail in May and accepted through June each year.

Applicants must have a current State of Connecticut archery deer permit and be at least 18 years old. Applicants who have not previously passed our proficiency test will be required to pass a proficiency test in July or August. Additionally, all hunters are required to attend one of three pre-hunt meetings held in September. During the pre-hunt meetings, we review the boundaries, rules and safety. We issue the permits at the end of the pre-hunt meetings. During the hunt, participants are required to use temporary tree stands and a safety (full body) harness. The hunt runs from 4:30 a.m. through 1:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. There is no hunting on Sundays.

Two names may be submitted per application. However, any person’s name appearing on more than one application will disqualify that person.

We solicit volunteers to staff a check station for each day of the hunt. Volunteers who work one day at the check station will be guaranteed a spot in the next year’s hunt. Applications to volunteer at the check station are available in June, after the lottery takes place.

To be placed on a list to receive an application, please contact: 

Trevor Grant
Natural Resources Analyst
Regional Water Authority
90 Sargent Drive | New Haven, CT 06511
Phone: 203-401-6731 | Fax: 203-603-4985
Email: tgrant@rwater.com

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