Protesters arrested on opening day of deer hunt

spectr17

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Six arrested on first day of deer hunt.

Owners of Devils Den want to cull herd.

By Robert Miller, Danbury (CT) News Times

2001-11-28.

Police bagged six protesters at Devil’s Den Nature Preserve Tuesday, as hunters scoped out the Den’s deer over the objections of animal rights activists.
Both sides said Tuesday they were satisfied with the events of the day. Priscilla Feral of Friends of Animals said the protesters got their message out: That people should boycott The Nature Conservancy, owner of Devil’s Den in Weston and Redding for permitting hunting on what is a nature preserve.

“We want to reach out to neighbors and past supporters of The Nature Conservancy, to tell them this has become a private hunting club,’’ Feral said.

But Stephen Patton, director of Devil’s Den, said once the six protesters who entered the property to disrupt the hunt left, it proceeded as planned.

“This isn’t a sporting activity,’’ Patton said. “We’re using sportsmen for wildlife management.’’

According to the conservancy, the deer population in Fairfield County now numbers about 40 per square mile; the conservancy said deer start to damage wildlife vegetation by the time they reach 10 to 15 deer per square mile.

Patton said last week he’s seen the effects of the herd’s browsing at Devil’s Den: diminishing numbers of spring wildflowers at the 1,700-acre preserve, the loss of young oak trees, and a gradual reduction of biodiversity. For that reason, he decided to use a hunt to reduce the herd size at Devil’s Den. The hunt will continue today through Friday, then resume on Monday and Tuesday next week.

But animal rights activists said Devil’s Den has always been a place intended to preserve wildlife, not destroy it. The Nature Conservancy has no actual data on the herd size at Devil’s Den, they said last week, and therefore cannot allow the hunt on any scientific basis.

What the hunt will do, Feral said last week, is simply pull more deer into the preserve from other regions. After a hunt, she said, fawns tend to grow faster and bigger the following year because there’s less competition for food.

The animal rights activists — which included members of Friends of Animals and the Animal Rights Front — pledged to stop, or at least delay the hunt. While about 20 people gathered early Tuesday morning on Route 53 near the preserve, six others walked onto its hiking paths.

“There were no signs saying ‘This place is closed,’Ÿ’’ said Robert Orabona of Friends of Animals.

But Patton said the protesters knew the hunt was taking place.

“They were trespassing and were specifically here to disrupt the hunt,’’ he said.

“We thought we might get arrested,’’ Orabona said. “We also thought we might get shot.’’

But as long as people walked the trails, Patton said, hunters were under orders to unlock and unload.

“We instructed them not to endanger anyone,’’ he said.

So while Department of Environmental Protection conservation officers rounded up the protesters, the hunters cooled their heels and rifles. By 11 a.m., with the six off the property, the hunt resumed.

Patton said he did not know if anyone brought down a deer Tuesday. All the venison from the six-day hunt will be donated to Hunters for the Hungry, a nonprofit organization that distributes venison to charities and food pantries.

The Weston Police Department was in charge of actually arresting the six: Donna Spencer, 35, of Meriden; Megan Metzlaar 29, of Darien; Sally Anne Beard, 45, of Seymour; Orabona, 51, of Rowayton; Lisa Zalaski, 38, of New Britain; and Bill Mannetti, 54, of New Haven, head of the Animal Rights Front. They were each charged with third-degree criminal trespass and obstructing the lawful taking of a wild animal. They were each released on a written promise to appear in Norwalk Superior Court next Tuesday. At this point, there are no other protests planned, Feral said. What her group wants to do, she said, is hurt The Nature Conservancy in the pocketbook by convincing rich donors to quit the organization until it changes its policies about allowing hunting on its land.

“The Nature Conservancy needs to earn its reputation,’’ she said.

Patton said supporters who live near Devil’s Den and know how many deer there actually are in Fairfield County probably won’t object to the hunt.

“But many people either come down on one side of this issue or the other,’’ he said of hunting. “I know we’ll lose some members as well.’’


Contact Robert Miller

at bmiller@newstimes.com
 

Brian S

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  A couple weeks ago I think you posted a report from Connecticut that they had a unlimited archery deer hunt within city limits in the southwestern part of that state. The towns I saw out there are surrounded by woods and large state forrest areas holding lots of deer. I was lucky not to have run into any such protesters last week. If a hunter took advantage of all the available tags I think its in the neighborhood of 6-8 deer a year. Without that kind of management the deer will be in the cities and on the roads causing lots o' damage. This situation has prompted more than one Eastern city to hire high dollar sharp shooters to knock out the urban deer problem. My .02
Brian
 

Whoadog

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 They donated the meat to the hungry, have you ever heard of the anti's donating the vegetables?  No they are too busy spending their money trying to stop us.

Brian
 

Slugblaster

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It's typacle of the anti-hunting terroists to waste their money as well as taxpayer money and time to stop an event that helps bring food to the needy. Was her name Feral or was she Feral. I dont think there's a limit on those.
 

h2obobh2o

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People that disrupt a hunt, by physically entering a property, and trying to scare deer away, should be choked to near death with a fresh GUT PILE. Hunters wait all year in anticipation of the season, practicing, scouting, buying all of the trinkets we use, and to have your day ruined by some selfish, close minded, dangerous, destructive animal rights activist is BULL CRAP! I just had to inform my wife this morning, that it is the hunters of Pennsylvania, who buy hunting license's, that pay 100% for the State Game lands purchase's (along with donations of land) that ANYONE can use freely, to ride bicyle's, horses, hiking, etc. etc.Of those users, I am sure there are anti hunters among them, that are not charged any sort of "user fee", permit, NOTHING, but then have the nads to complain about hunters, hunting, or complain about having "equal" rights, because they are asked to wear blaze orange in hunting season. Idiots!!!Sorry for rambling.
 

Fubar

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h20bob  I agree with you. We need to take an active stand as hunters and fishermen. Write letters to your representatives and let them know how you feel. You know the antis do. If we dont keep active for our hunting and fishing privilages, we will lose them.                   Fubar
 

QALHNTR

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Brian,
It's the same in Wisconsin.  Even as an non-resident I was given 2 tags (one antlered, one non-antlered).  They report an average of 25+ deer per acre.  Everyone I know back there has had a deer-auto accident and wholly support deer management even if they're not hunters.  Why do we make the anti's wear blaze orange?  :laffin-yellow:
 

Gilles

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I a mgetting rally sick and tired of all those tree huggers protesting on things that they don't even know a bit of information about. All they hear is that we are hunting animals, but they don't understand that we don't just hunt to kill something, but to suplly food for the needy and for ourselves.
 

nobuckkev

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Welcome to the "tree-huggers" problems we get out here in California. They haven't been heard from recently but are still there. This is just another reason why I love Bowhunting so much.
 
R

ryanhickey24

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there are SOME anti's here, but not anywhere NEAR as many as you fellas have out west - i have no clue how you hunters out west deal with so much ignorance - God blessed you guys with lots of tolerance and patience i reckon.  Just remember, we have plenty of room for your kind in the Bluegrass!!
 

mjohns2

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The funny part about the protesters is im sure they went home and had themselves a steak or peice of chicken while they planned ther next move!
 

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