Vital Land Management

Vital Land Management
In 2012, the Weston Conservation Commission opened 5 town properties to allow bow-hunting of deer. Deer management was deemed to be advisable after a 9-month public outreach and education process investigating the scope of the problem and exploring deer management alternatives. Weston has triple the optimum deer density, and the burgeoning population is damaging the forest understory, causing public safety issues (deer-car collisions), and exacerbating the Lyme disease epidemic.

If deer are allowed to proliferate unchecked, Weston’s forests will lose hardwood saplings, spring wildflowers, and low growing shrubs. This impoverished ecosystem, in turn, will adversely affect numerous other wildlife species, including ground- and shrub-nesting song birds, amphibians, and insects. In addition, invasive species, which deer avoid, will proliferate and replace the browsed hardwoods.

The diverse woodlands that residents now enjoy while walking Weston’s many forested trails will become a very different place, lacking ground cover, tree seedlings, and shrubs. Our woodlands will offer fewer bird songs, more traffic noise, and more unobstructed views into backyards.

Importance of Bow Hunting
The Commission’s research has shown that bow-hunting is the only practicable method to manage deer in Weston. The annual hunt results in approximately 20 deer harvested on conservation land by skilled hunters who passed rigorous proficiency tests and background checks. All deer are harvested as humanely as possible. The deer harvested on public land, combined with approximately 20 deer that are harvested on private land, will have a meaningful impact on the deer population.