WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 107 of 203

DEER HUNTING in Weston JANET MENDELSOHN writer watching a doe and two fawns sprint across my yard, it's hard to imagine these gentle creatures at the center of heated local debate. And yet they are. Are white-tailed deer pests or welcome visitors? Is deer hunting a time-honored tradition and a way to limit increas- ing problems or an inhumane response to exaggerated threats? Over the past year, Weston residents and town officials wrestled with these complex issues. At the Board of Selectmen's request, the Conservation Commission sought to determine if the town has deer-related problems and, if so, what to do about them. Local citizens were surveyed online. Three public forums were held to hear from residents, wildlife management experts, and Lyme disease specialists. The Commission's report, posted at www.weston.govoffice.com, deter- mined a deer management program is needed. They recommended permitting licensed archers to hunt on town-owned land. On July 16, the Selectmen voted to approve the program. Weston's 2012 hunting season runs October 15 to December 31. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) biologists estimate there are twenty to thirty deer per square mile in Zone 10 (suburbs west of Boston, including Weston), well above the six to eight deer considered ideal. David Stainbrook, DFW's Deer and Moose Project Leader, said wildlife experts first noticed the deer population expanding in eastern Massachusetts back in the 1990s. "Suburban areas provided great bedding areas and food resources (deer love edge habitat) 106 WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013

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