New committee in Shelton will study deer-related issues

The city has created a Deer Committee to look into landscaping damage, vehicle collisions, disease and population levels involving the animals.

The Board of Aldermen approved the new ad hoc group last week, appointing nine members.

Shelton Conservation Commission members had suggested forming the committee due to shrub damage near trails and other issues.

'It's a big issue'

Teresa Gallagher, city conservation agent, recently told an aldermanic committee that the Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance recommends towns have municipal deer committees to suggest local policies on deer-related matters.

“It’s a big issue,” Gallagher told aldermen. She was appointed as one of the Deer Committee’s members.

Gallagher serves as the city of Shelton’s representative on the Deer Alliance, which seeks a “collaborative approach to reducing the region’s over abundant deer population.”

This approach to “restoring balance” in nature can lead to controlled deer hunts.

Will make recommendations

Alderman John P. Papa said the Shelton Deer Committee will make recommendations to the aldermen on “what we can do to control the deer.”

Aldermanic President John F. Anglace Jr. said the nine committee members will study whether Shelton has a problem with too many deer, and if so, what could be done about it.

Anglace said the nine members bring “a good cross-section” of backgrounds. “It’s not all deer hunters,” he said.

Mayor Mark Lauretti said he often sees deer in his yard in the early morning, and he enjoys that experience. “I like the deer,” said Lauretti, suggested the Deer Committee should also consider implementing steps to protect deer.

Deer impacting open space vegetation

At the earlier committee meeting, Gallagher stressed that “open space is being severely impacted” by the high population of deer.

The Deer Alliance website points to concerns with public health (Lyme disease), ecological damage to woodlands, and road safety due to accidents.

Gallagher said a study showed the average Fairfield County household spends $900 annually dealing with deer issues.

Committee members

The appointed Deer Committee members are:

— Dan Beardsley of Beardsley Orchards, environmental professional with a master’s degree in environmental science.

— William Dyer, Shelton Conservation Commission vice chairman and Shelton Trails Committee chairman.

— Jeff Forte, chiropractic physician.

— Teresa Gallagher, city conservation agent, Shelton’s representative to the Deer Alliance, former Conservation Commission member, with a master’s degree in environmental science.

— Joel Hurliman, police chief, former Conservation Commission and Inland Wetlands Commission member, with a bachelor’s degree in natural resource conservation.

— Allison Knick-Menendez, master gardener and Community Garden Committee vice chairman.

— Joseph Palmucci, Shelton Land Trust board member.

— Paul Uhrynowski Jr., Land Trust treasurer.

— Brad Wells, owner of Fairview Tree Farm.