The Weston Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on Monday night to allow bow hunting for deer on town-owned conservation land as a way to cull the town’s burgeoning deer population.
“None of us really likes the idea of shooting deer,” said Board of Selectmen Chair Michael Harrity. “On the other hand, I have become convinced that the population is too large, and that it is damaging our ecosystem, and that this is a safe cost effective way of dealing with this overpopulation.”
Archers will be allowed to hunt in selected conservation areas during the state’s deer-hunting season, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 31 this year.
The board will likely review the program early next year to determine if and how it should proceed in the year or years after 2012, said Harrity in an email after the meeting.
The Conservation Commission, which proposed the bow hunting idea, outlined a set of regulations that will govern bow hunting in Weston in addition to state regulations.
The regulations will limit the number of access permits based on the land available for hunting, which is restricted to Jericho Town Forest, Ogilvie Town Forest, Dickson Field, Blaney Aquifer and the Sears Land. The Commission reserves the right to close any parcel at any time, and to cancel hunting at any time.
Bow hunters in Weston will be required to pass a proficiency test in order to qualify for a permit from the town.
Hunters will only be allowed to shoot from tree stands, and will not be allowed to use night-vision or low-light devices.
Any deer that are killed must be reported to the Commission within 24 hours or by 5 p.m. the next day, whichever is later. Deer must be removed without damage to the area.
State regulations include a ban on hunting on Sundays, and set hunting hours at one half hour before sunrise and one half hour after sunset. State law prohibits shooting an arrow within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling and within 150 feet of a paved road.
The Commission and the selectmen emphasized that areas where hunting is taking place will be clearly marked so that residents enjoying the woods will not be surprised to see an archer.
The Commission has set up a website with deer-hunting information, including a map of the areas it will be allowed, here.
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.