OP-ED | State Environmental Agency Holds Key To Lyme Disease
Lyme and tick diseases are ravaging Fairfield County. As a result lives and families are being destroyed and careers are being ruined each day.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has identified deer as the primary culprit. In order for an adult deer tick to mature and reproduce it must feed on a large mammal. A recent analysis of ticks showed that 94 percent of all adult deer ticks had fed on a deer. An aerial DEP survey taken in January 2011 showed that deer density levels in Fairfield County went from 64 to 76 deer per square mile in the past 2 years. Towns that have restored deer densities back to 10 to 12 deer per square mile have experienced a decrease in ticks and tick diseases of 95 percent. It is a simple equation.
The DEEP has it within their power to protect humans rather deer. The majority of DEEP regulations protect deer and not humans. The DEEP needs to experience a sea change in the way they view deer.
Private landowners should be permitted to harvest deer year round in order to help get deer numbers under control and in order to protect their families. Hunters need to be able to use sound reducers as many states do to limit the obnoxious blast of a gun, to protect a hunters hearing and to improve accuracy. Licensing fees need to be waived to promote deer management.
There needs to be a single set of regulations that regulate all firearm use. The firearm season needs to extend the entire length of the hunting season. Crop damage permits need to accommodate organic gardeners that merely want to provide for their families. The use of jacklight permits needs to be liberalized. There is so much the DEEP could do but to date has been reluctant to change.
Everyone that has suffered from Lyme disease needs to send a letter or email to the Commissioner of the DEEP Daniel Esty and request regulatory relief from the regulations that protect deer and not humans. Unfortunately it has become a big business for both the state and for companies that sell hunting supplies.
A recent study last year suggested that high deer density numbers are costing approximately $1,100 per household in Fairfield County. This money would be much better spent on schools, infrastructure repair and incentives for companies to hire again.
While Hartford dithers people wither. Lyme and tick related diseases can be greatly reduced if we simply reign in archaic regulations that protect deer and not humans. Without your help nothing will change.
David Streit is the chairman and Redding representative of the Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance.