With no natural predators, the deer population has grown from an estimated 12 -- yes, 12 -- in all of New England in 1896 (following the years of land clearance for farming) to approximately 150,000 today. The latest survey conducted by the Wildlife Division of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in January 2009 estimated an average 62 deer per square mile in Fairfield County that covers 625 square miles. (Okay we'll do the math -- 38,750 deer.)
Almost every town in Fairfield County has some sort of deer management program or committee discussing such a program -- except Westport. Now, there is a new initiative -- a citizens' petition -- that is asking the RTM and the first selectman to take action to develop and implement a plan to control what the Audubon Society has described as a "public menace."