Deer Management Planning Process 2011-2012
Three Deer Forums focused on deer issues and deer management ideas:
- On October 27, 2011, in the first of three Deer Forums, the Conservation Commission explored cultural and biological sustainability. The forum addressed whether the Town should establish a sustainable level of deer density, and if so, the means we have to achieve that level. The forum featured Pat Huckery from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife who spoke about deer and their management. Barbara Roth-Schechter of the Dover Board of Health and John Sklenik, chair of the Sudbury Conservation Commission, were also in attendance and they presented the steps their communities have taken to manage deer populations. The deer sighting survey can be completed every time a resident sees deer in town, and will document the number and location of deer observed. The cumulative information from residents' reported observations will give us a better understanding of the size and movement of Weston's deer population. Residents were encouraged to report all deer seen between November 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012. Results were collected and used for the Commission's study and the survey is still open.
- On December 11th, 2011 the Conservation Commission continued the Deer Forums by hosting a public walk and educational program in which Thomas Rawinski showed participants how to identify the extent of deer browse on the Sears Land in Weston. Participants also tagged sugar maple saplings. The numbered tags were logged into a spreadsheet and the Conservation Commission plans to measure the growth of these tagged saplings annually as part of a study to determine the extent of deer browse in parts of Weston’s conservation land.
- On February 16, 2012, the Conservation Commission hosted the third and final event in the Deer Forum series. This final installment featured Brian Donahue, a member of the Conservation Commission and an Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University, who gave a talk entitled, “Is Hunting Natural?” in which he discussed the long relationship between people and deer in this region. Also in attendance was Thomas Rawinski, a botanist with the U.S. Forest Service, who spoke on “Deer and Forests, and the People Who Love Them.” Mr. Rawinski focused on the ecological impacts of white-tailed deer in forests, and the human dimensions in the challenges of managing deer populations. The Conservation Commission also presented the results of the Deer Impact and Deer Sighting surveys, a summary of which can be found below as well as a map of deer sightings in town.
Weston Deer Report
The Conservation Commission published the Weston Deer Report outlining the research conducted and the Commission's recommendation bow hunting. The detailed report can be found on the Weston Deer Report page.
May 17, 2012 -- The Deer Forum series led up to the spring of 2012 when the Conservation Commission held a public hearing to determine whether Weston has too many deer, and if so, whether the Town should take steps to manage deer. Many members of the community were in attendance and expressed their views. Taking into account its research on deer and the views expressed by members of the community, the Conservation Commission made a recommendation about deer management to the Board of Selectmen at the June 11, 2012 meeting.
Board of Selectmen Public Meeting -- June 11, 2012
The Board of Selectmen held a public meeting to discuss the Conservation Commission’s recommendation to implement a bow hunting program for deer.
After hearing a presentation by the Conservation Commission and much input from the public in attendance, the Selectmen voted to support the Commission's recommendation, with the condition that before the program is implemented, regulations developed by the Commission, specifically related to safety precautions, will be subject to approval by the Board.
Conservation Commission Public Meeting -- July 10, 2012
The Commission discussed and voted on proposed hunting regulations at the July 10th meeting in preparation for the Board of Selectmen public meeting on July 16th.
Board of Selectmen Public Meeting -- July 16, 2012 -- Hunting Regulations Approved
The Board of Selectmen voted to adopt the Conservation Commission's hunting regulations.
Further details, including the recommended hunting regulations and a map of the allowable hunting grounds on conservation land in town, can be found on the Conservation Commission's Deer Management Program webpage.