By Gregory B. Hladky, Hartford Courant
Last year appears to have been the first time since Native Americans ruled this land in the early 1600s that more deer were killed with a bow than with a gun.
Arrows took down at least 6,046 white-tails; bullets at least 4,340. While state officials say it’s a first for modern Connecticut deer hunting, there were about 2,100 kills in which the method is not clear since private landowners don’t have to report how they shot deer on their own property. Connecticut’s legislature is considering a further expansion of bow-hunting, to allow it on private land on Sundays, a day that’s now off-limits for hunting.
Experts believe the reason for that shift to bows has to do with a continuing concern about the numbers of deer and their Lyme Disease-carrying ticks, a state policy in favor of archery hunting, and the increasing popularity of the crossbow.
“Over time, that has made a substantial change,” said Howard Kirkpatrick, a state wildlife biologist with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. He and other experts believe Connecticut’s deer population has dropped from an estimated peak of 126,000 eight years ago.