DeerBuilder.com
Consider Your Options in 2017
Connecticut
Contributors to this thread:
airrow 05-Feb-17
SmoothieJonez 06-Feb-17
>>---CTCrow---> 06-Feb-17
tobywon 06-Feb-17
tobywon 06-Feb-17
Garbanzo 06-Feb-17
Mike in CT 06-Feb-17
tobywon 07-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 07-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 07-Feb-17
longbeard 07-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 07-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 07-Feb-17
Richm444 07-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 07-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 07-Feb-17
Richm444 07-Feb-17
N8tureBoy 07-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 08-Feb-17
airrow 08-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 09-Feb-17
airrow 09-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 09-Feb-17
N8tureBoy 09-Feb-17
Garbanzo 09-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 09-Feb-17
N8tureBoy 09-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 09-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 09-Feb-17
tobywon 09-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 09-Feb-17
airrow 10-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 10-Feb-17
airrow 10-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 10-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 10-Feb-17
tobywon 10-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 10-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 10-Feb-17
>>---CTCrow---> 10-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 10-Feb-17
notme 10-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 10-Feb-17
N8tureBoy 11-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 11-Feb-17
airrow 13-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 13-Feb-17
Mike in CT 14-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 14-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 14-Feb-17
airrow 14-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 14-Feb-17
Will 14-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 14-Feb-17
Will 15-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 15-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 15-Feb-17
airrow 21-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 21-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 21-Feb-17
bigbuckbob 21-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 21-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 21-Feb-17
airrow 22-Feb-17
Dr. Williams 22-Feb-17
From: airrow
05-Feb-17
Consider your options in 2017

It's probably impossible to get a true apples-to-apples comparison of each of CT's 12 DMZ's (Deer Management Zones) but it is interesting to take a look at one statistic that might make you want to reconsider whether it's worth the trek down to Zone 11 or 12; deer harvest per square mile.

Each year as you know the CT DEEP publishes a deer harvest report. It is very easy to take this data, compile a total hunting take for each zone and then divide that number by the square miles in that zone, arriving at a harvest / square mile figure.

It should go without saying that a lot of factors may factor in; differences in habitat, number of hunters, etc. but it's a viable option for taking a snapshot of potential success in any given zone.

Here is the breakdown for 2016 for your review:

Connecticut's Best Deer Hunting Areas in 2016 - Harvest results for 2016 are a good indicator of where you should look to hunt in 2017. Data shows Connecticut Zones 1-12; deer per square mile harvested (DPSMH) per zone in 2016 - (9/15/2016-12/31/2016).

1 - Zone 4B - 3.500 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

2 - Zone 5 - 2.883 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

3 - Zone 9 - 2.852 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

4 - Zone 8 - 2.839 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

5 - Zone 10 - 2.713 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

6 - Zone 11 - 2.435 dpsmh - (Baiting, unlimited tags, Sunday hunting and January hunting allowed)

7 - Zone 12 - 2.130 dpsmh - (Baiting, unlimited tags, Sunday hunting and January hunting allowed)

8 - Zone 4A - 2.085 dpsmh - (No Sunday hunting, baiting, or January season allowed)

9 - Zone 1 - 2.055 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

10- Zone 6 - 1.940 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

11- Zone 7 - 1.930 dpsmh - (Sunday hunting allowed)

12- Zone 3 - 1.390 dpsmh - (No Sunday hunting, baiting, or January season allowed)

13- Zone 2 - 1.168 dpsmh - (No Sunday hunting, baiting, or January season allowed)

06-Feb-17

SmoothieJonez's embedded Photo
SmoothieJonez's embedded Photo
No Sunday hunting in Zones 2, 3

06-Feb-17
WAIT!!!

I thought you said baiting should be stopped because of the devastating number of deer killed and ALL the access to properties?

They came 6 and 7 according get to this post.

From: tobywon
06-Feb-17
Although I do know that the numbers provided are from known numbers for the most part (square miles and deer killed), I just hate the comparison to dpsmh. The numbers for Zones 11 and 12 are especially skewed low with this system of comparison because of the major development and large percentage of land that does not provide any habitat for deer. I'm talking the "concrete jungle" not spots here and there. Take for instance the big stretches of land in cities like Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, Bridgeport and even Stratford. Zones 4B, 5, 8, 9 and 10 that had higher dpsmh numbers have no where near the "concrete jungle" as Zones 11 & 12. Minus some of that land out and Zones 11 & 12 would move up the list.

From: tobywon
06-Feb-17
Also, we kept hearing the 7 deer per square mile number being thrown around recently in debates a while back with FLIR studies, etc. So if Zone 11 has 2.6 dpsmh that would mean that approx. 62% of deer population in Zone 11 were killed by hunting alone. That doesn't include, predation, vehicle collisions, poaching, unreported harvest, etc. So what the dpsmh does prove is that there is no way Zone 11 has 7 dsm.

From: Garbanzo
06-Feb-17
Deer Harvested per Square Mile could also be a factor of how many hunters are hunting in those zones. Also 4B is a lot smaller than the other zones so there are less Square miles, so you have a smaller denominator. One of my prime considerations is access and convenience to my hunting area. The Easier it is for me to get to and into my hunting area, the more time I will get on stand and the better my odds will be. An area that is crawling with deer does you no good if you cannot access it.

From: Mike in CT
06-Feb-17
A couple of thoughts:

1 As indicated in the OP it's "probably Impossible" to get a true apples-to-apples comparison for each zone. It should go without saying that anytime this type of caveat is applied the statement(s) to follow should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

2. There isn't any doubt that the numbers are skewed lower for Zones 11 & 12 but I wouldn't characterize them as "especially skewed"; if you take the square mileage for example of Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield and Bridgeport (the bulk of the concrete jungle) you account for approximately 33% of the total land in Fairfield County (FFC is 827 square miles but 202 of those are water so the land total is 625 square miles).

It should go without saying that every inch of those towns isn't paved and when I've made inquires as to an estimate of what % of FFC is "paved" I've gotten numbers ranging from 6-15%. The former seems low to me, the latter is probably closer to reality. From here it's fairly simple to factor in the difference for either range, and since I think the higher one is more realistic you'd add 15% to the total for Zone 11.

Land lost to paving would need to be applied to every other zone and outside of New Haven and Hartford counties (and southern Litchfield County) the factor would likely be lower, yet still require accounting for.

3. The above should illustrate why it's pointless to get worked up over numbers best taken with a gain of salt-too much involved for what really appears to be intended as another way of assessing hunting potential.

4. 2.6/7 is .3714 or 37.1%; not sure where the 62% came from and if I recall correctly the 7 was 7.34 and was from the privately funded FLIR of one town and I really can't believe anyone wants to revisit that discussion.

For those of you who head out west for elk you might have gotten more out of this exercise; I'm sure many of you also look at success rates before applying for a zone (given the cost of an elk hunt it makes sense). Ditto for those applying for permits in midwest states for whitetail deer. Anything that tilts the odds even slightly in your favor is a good idea.

Yep, definitely the off-season......

From: tobywon
07-Feb-17
1. Agree it is "probably Impossible" to get a true apples-to-apples comparison for each zone. But there are ways to take any data set and skew it to anyone’s favor. I take anything that the OP or anyone posts on a public forum with the proverbial grain of salt.

2. OK so not "especially skewed", but we agree they are skewed low. Zones 11 & 12 would move up that list.

3. Not getting worked up over numbers, these number will not get anyone from Zone 11 to rush to Zone 4B or 9 to see what’s going on. It may work for northern New England or the Midwest, but not much for hunter potential in CT in my opinion. That being said, I agree it is there to use as a tool for anyone who wants to use it.

4. It’s not about revisiting a discussion. We just ended the season and the OP just posted some numbers that correlate to this past season, so now it comes back full circle from the discussions of single to low double digit numbers. My point is that the harvest data proves what many here have said, deer densities are higher than what we were fed prior to the season. Anyone that has hunted in areas or states with single to low double digit densities, would know that this is not the case here. There is a reason why many from Massachusetts travel far to hunt in Zone 11 or CT for that matter.

Yep, definitely the off-season......and the OP is doing the same thing, evaluating the data that just came in from this past season which is typically when data is evaluated.

Not looking for a pissing match, just posting my opinion on a hunting forum. We all have many things in common and that is the love of this sport and the health of our deer herd. We can all agree that numbers are way down from several years past. I don’t post often so I’ll crawl back under my rock now:) Have a great 2017 season to all.

From: bigbuckbob
07-Feb-17
I've got to ask a question on this topic. Say you had 2 parcel of land exactly the same size, but one parcel has a pen that surrounds the perimeter and the other has a small pen in one corner. Both pens have 8 deer in them, single digit. Is this the view when comparing single digit deer in Mass compared to FF county in CT?

From what I've read on this site, FF county is backyard/small parcel hunting and Mass seems to be more open woods, like the state land in CT (not sure, but it feels that way from comments). My point being, the perspective of the Mass hunters is there are more deer, but could it be they're just pushed onto small tracks of land?

From: Dr. Williams
07-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Right on with the “Concrete Jungle” Tobywon. You can’t use square mileage of the entire zone because it includes places like you mentioned with tons of impervious surfaces, buildings, and development where deer are not and where hunting does not take place. So of course, including those areas is going to dilute the deer harvest density. DEEP had this game figured out a long time ago and the last time they published statewide deer index numbers, they included square mileage of deer habitat in each zone. That was on Page 3 of CT Wildlife, Volume 27, Number 3 (http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=325726&deepNav_GID=1655). And if we use the deer habitat numbers from 2007, likely reduced substantially 10 years later, it kind of tells a different story. Like that Zone 11has the highest 2016 harvest density per square mile of deer habitat. So Zone 11 is still the place to go, like Field and Stream reported a couple years ago.

Bob. Because you have 8 deer in a pen does not mean that is single digit deer densities, unless of course the pen has an area of one square mile, then you would have 8 deer/square mile. If you have 8 deer in 0.5 square mile pen, you would have the equivalent of 16 deer/square mile. If the pen is a 0.25 of a square mile, you would have 32 deer/square mile. And there are more deer in Zone 11 than in western MA. Like Toby said, otherwise, why would they waste so much money in fuel and non-resident license fees to drive 2 hours to go deer hunting?

From: longbeard
07-Feb-17
Maybe because it is perceived that there are way more deer here than there actually are or have been for quite some time now.

From: Dr. Williams
07-Feb-17
Longbeard, it is not perceived, it is fact. In 2016, Zone 11 was number 1 in deer harvested overall statewide and in density of deer harvested/deer habitat. Are there fewer deer than there used to be? Of course. Are there still lots of deer remaining? Yes. The out of state guys don’t perceive a dead deer in the back of their truck when driving back to MA because it is actually there, and dead, in the back of the truck else, they wouldn’t waste their time and money to drive down there to go deer hunting.

From: bigbuckbob
07-Feb-17
Doc - you're correct, but what I was trying to ask is this. "Do Mass hunters see more deer in FF county when compared to Mass because of the concrete jungle scenario that you stated? I'm asking if both areas have the same number of deer per sq mile but in CT they're all concentrated in the non-concrete areas of FF county (small pen); whereas in Mass the same number of dpsm are spread out over the entire mile (large pen)?

Perception plays a big part in the comments is what I'm driving at. If I don't see any deer hunting in Mass but when I come to CT I see 1 or 2 every other hunt that's a great place to hunt. But to the CT hunters in the same area it's terrible because they once say 8-10 per day. It's the less or more comparison that I stated in an earlier thread. Ct guys are seeing less = bad, but the Ma guys are seeing more = good. Same number of deer, different point of view.

From: Richm444
07-Feb-17
I am in Zone 11 and the deer are coming out of the woodwork

From: bigbuckbob
07-Feb-17
Rich. Is "out of the woodwork" the same, more, or less than 5 yrs ago? Are you seeing deer everywhere in zone 11 or the areas you hunt? Do you need help getting rid of some:).

From: Dr. Williams
07-Feb-17
Bob, there are truly more deer in FF County both in numbers and density than western MA. But there are a lot more unhunted smaller acreage private lands for deer to wait out hunting season in FF County than western MA. That is where the deer have been trained to go wait out the season. That is why there is baiting, replacement antlerless, crossbows, and 4.5 months of archery season there. But you are right, CT hunters are seeing less than they used to there and the MA guys are seeing way more than they do at home. Clearly there are plenty of deer there for the guys to drive that distance, and at the same time, CT guys are not happy because there aren’t as many as there used to be. Sounds like the old timers from Zone 11 are attempting to dissuade the MA guys from making the drive down with Internet posts. My guess would be that the MA guys wouldn’t keep making the drive if the deer densities in Zone 11 didn’t exceed that of where they are in MA. So when the MA guys stop driving to Zone 11 is when densities are possibly in the single digits, until then, it is still the law of supply and demand. If there are deer there, they will come.

From: Richm444
07-Feb-17
bigbuckbob - I have never seen a shortage of deer in zones 11 or 6. Once while turkey hunting I literally had a buck walk over my shoes

From: N8tureBoy
07-Feb-17
Just wondering what the thought process is behind the deer zone boundaries. For instance, they are no where equal in terms of size/shape. I assume deer density plays a factor, as the numbers posted by Airrow end up being surprisingly close. I'm also curious how the size of the zones have changed over time and what the logic is behind the boundaries.

From: bigbuckbob
08-Feb-17
N8 - it's just like the Deer Crossing signs along the road telling the deer where to cross. The boundaries are there to let the deer know the limits of their range, right notme? :)

From: airrow
08-Feb-17

airrow's embedded Photo
airrow's embedded Photo
Connecticut zonal square miles have been manipulated both up and down over the years as it suited the DEP survey model; see enclosed survey results. The (land mass) square miles in Connecticut is 4,845 square miles; if they wanted to account for roads, buildings and paved areas they would just use the figure of 4,118 square miles (4,845 less 15%). The DEP chose to use 3,637 square miles, - 24.93 % lower; which would show a deer population approximately 25% higher. In this case the DEP used adjusted zonal square miles as their correction factor as needed to hit "their" number needed, approximately 20 dpsm.

By using a zonal area 1/2 the actual size the DEP is essentially using their 2X factor on the number of deer seen; the problem is they are calling the numbers "mean statewide density" or raw data and not adjusted. This is essentially showing 2X or twice the number of deer that we actually have in Connecticut and has led us to were we are today.

2007 was the last year the CT DEP did Statewide aerial surveys estimates in Connecticut, The DEP stated that in 2007 the "mean statewide deer density", averaged 17 dpsm; if we correct the actual zonal square miles in Connecticut 4,845, the number 17 dpsm becomes 12.80 dpsm or 62,189 deer statewide. And in 2016 we have the CT DEEP stating we now have 100,000 deer or 20.63 dpsm in Connecticut, a 60.80% increase from 2007.

In 2009 the CT. DEP decided to concentrate on Zone 11 (Fairfield County) with a new type of transect survey and no longer did statewide surveys. Lets compare years 2007 (old style survey) to the year 2009 (new style survey); in 2007 the Zone 11 survey stated 29.4 dpsm or 16.45 dpsm (corrected for zone size / 625 sm). By using a zonal area 1/2 the actual size the DEP is essentially using their 2X factor on the number of deer seen.

In 2009, (two years later) the same Zone 11 was stated as having an average 30.0 dpsm or 61.8 dpsm corrected; so by the DEP`s own numbers, from 2007 to 2009 the deer herd in Fairfield County, CT grew by either 2X or 4X (corrected).

This gave the CT DEEP everything they needed (on paper) to convince an unsuspecting public of a Lyme disease epidemic or an out of control deer population. Going from 16.45 dpsm ( zone 11) raw count to 61.8 dpsm corrected with an 90% confidence range in just two years.

From: Dr. Williams
09-Feb-17
This seems like quite a conspiracy and is hard to follow your logic. Where does your 15% development figure come from? It seems to be the crux of your theory here and yet there is no justification for that number. I would presume DEEP uses GIS data to determine deer habitat, which isn't just all non-developed area, which is going to decline over the years as development increases and yet, the same figure in all statewide scenarios you present is used. Sure you can use statewide land area that includes all the developed area and will obviously dilute deer density, but that is disingenuous and self serving. If we are doing that, we may as well just use the total area of CT which is 5543 square miles which includes the CT River, Candlewood Lake, a big chunk of the Sound, and the rest of the waterways because I mean, deer can swim right? That brings the 2007 survey to 11/square mile, almost single digits. All the problems here would be solved if the DEP would have just written "Mean deer density for statewide deer habitat."

From: airrow
09-Feb-17
Doc - The only thing illogical here is using 2000-2007 data against 2016 data when 2015 State survey data is available. You have also added the first 17 days harvest in January to both zones 11&12; this thread discusses deer harvest from 9/15/2016-12/31/20016, not the January season only for zones 11&12. As those two zones are the only zones with Sunday hunting it is obvious it will skew the data for those zones when attempting to compare harvest per square mile; ironic given how blatantly disingenuous that is.

" I would presume DEEP uses GIS data to determine deer habitat, which isn't just all non-developed area, which is going to decline over the years as development increases "

Doc - Then maybe you can explain how zone 2 can have 281.2 square miles of habitat in 2000 and in 2015 it becomes 410.7, that is a + 46.05% increase in habitat! Zone 12 has an increase of + 36.06% and Zone 7 has an increase of + 24.65%. So please explain how this is possible? Did the State remove 46% of all structures and roads in Zone 2 and plant trees, shrubs and other deer habitat to account for this increase?

Doc - The only thing disingenuous and self serving on this thread and Bowsite is obvious manipulation of data points to achieve a desired outcome.

From: Dr. Williams
09-Feb-17
Glen. You are correct. I did not realize that you excluded the January numbers from your analysis. And I too saw that land area in the 2015 Deer Summary Report. It is not labeled well, but the total is similar to the deer habitat numbers from 2003-2007. Like I said, the deer habitat has probably been reduced and it sure has for Zone 11. So it dropped from 2003 when it was 350 square miles to 291 in 2015. So I reduced my deer take numbers I presented by 88 for Zone 11 January 1-17 harvest and 18 for Zone 12 and here are the numbers. With that reduced deer habitat in Zone 11, It actually made the number of deer harvested per square mile of deer habitat jump up over 5! While you accuse me of being disingenuous, the numbers you pointed me to actually show that take density in Zone 11 was higher than I previously and incorrectly reported. And even higher if we add in the 156 deer taken in Zones 11+12 in January 2016 as reported in the 2015 Deer Program Summary that you neglected to include.

As far as how DEEP calculates deer habitat, I don’t know. There is a lot of state forest and MDC lands in Zone 2 and maybe they scaled back logging during that time as wood prices tanked and trees grew back. I don’t know. Zone 12 had that increase because Lyme and East Haddam were added at some point as Zone 12 used to just hug the Shoreline towns. Zone 7, I don’t know. But again, if the area of deer habitat is increased, then that dilutes the density of deer taken in that zone. So that kind of makes no sense in your vast conspiracy that DEEP is trying to make it appear as if there are more deer. If that were the case, they would shrink the amount of deer habitat to make the density of deer taken appear to increase, like you corrected me to do....

From: N8tureBoy
09-Feb-17
LOL BBB.

From: Garbanzo
09-Feb-17
Doc, in zone 11 did you remove the entire town of Westport.. Since it has a no hunting ordinance it should not be included.

From: Dr. Williams
09-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo

From: N8tureBoy
09-Feb-17
http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Breeding-season-brings-more-deer-on-the-roads-6622442.php#photo-8935006

Thought this was interesting. 2015 article with data from 2014 season, if I read it correctly. Traffic accident data might be another way to assess things. As Connecticut scrambles to look under the couch cushions with the hope of finding 1.4 billion dollars to balance the budget, I doubt there will be any updated air surveys in the near future. The article mentions that deer vs car collisions in the state decreased from 15K to less than half between the early 2000's and 2014. I would think traffic volume would have increased a bit over this period, which should have increased the # of collisions (?) I doubt people's driving skills increased or the deer learned to cross roads in cross walks over this time period. Maybe the state built some fences or trimmed brush from the sides of the road.

From: bigbuckbob
09-Feb-17
N8 - that's an interest bit of information. If anything, traffic accidents are on the increase mostly due to distracted driving, so I would think that this would have resulted in more car / deer accidents. Also, since it was mentioned in a previous post that development over the years is increasing this would force more deer to move in search of new areas.

From: Dr. Williams
09-Feb-17
I didn't remove land area of Westport. The statistic is number of deer harvested per unit area of deer habitat by Zone. Even though Westport is unhunted, it still provides deer habitat in Zone 11. But you are correct. If we remove that, the number of deer harvested per square mile of huntable deer habitat would be higher than what I just reported.

From: tobywon
09-Feb-17
Westport is hunted, only 10 deer reported but how many others are not due to that ordinance is anyones guess.

From: bigbuckbob
09-Feb-17
If you're harvesting deer from an un-huntable area is that hunting?

From: airrow
10-Feb-17
"So that kind of makes no sense in your vast conspiracy that DEEP is trying to make it appear as if there are more deer. If that were the case, they would shrink the amount of deer habitat to make the density of deer taken appear to increase, like you corrected me to do...."

BINGO! You don't need to apply a 2X factor to surveys anymore.....just cut the square miles in a zone by half.....presto! back to the high deer densities again!

From: Dr. Williams
10-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Ummm. But you were arguing earlier that DEEP is making MORE deer habitat in Zones 2, 7, and 12. I'm not sure I can follow this conspiracy because I'm not sure which way you are arguing it. Total CT deer habitat for 2000-2007 as you reported was 3637 square miles. In 2015 as I reported it was 3784 square miles. Both numbers from DEEP. So if you are saying DEEP is shrinking deer habitat to make densities seem higher, you better check that math. And if this is a conscious conspiracy attempt by DEEP, they are doing a pretty lousy job. Someone should tell them.

From: airrow
10-Feb-17
Doc,

"And even higher if we add in the 156 deer taken in Zones 11+12 in January 2016 as reported in the 2015 Deer Program Summary that you neglected to include."

Doc, I need to address this first and please try to pay attention this time; January numbers are excluded because only zones 11 and 12 have January hunting including those numbers in a deer harvest per square mile calculation that compares all zones will skew the data in favor of those 2 zones.

Second, I referred to Zone 12 as increasing, not Zone 11; again, please try to pay attention.

Lastly, I referred to shrinking zone size where there seems to be a major focus of killing more deer in Zone 11.

From: bigbuckbob
10-Feb-17
Doc - I guess the way I read all this is that the DEEP is publishing numbers that contradict previous reports, leaving the reader to believe that there's a problem with the data. In other words, it's not correct, which leads to doubt and speculation as to why the numbers change. Airrow is pointing out that in some cases the hunt-able areas increase and in others it decreases. It can't be both.

As for my options in 2017 - they're looking pretty exciting. I applied for the New Mexico elk draw yesterday. The odds are pretty slim to draw a tag, but boy is it fun to hunt those animals. And if that fails to happen, I may be going to IL. on a whitetail hunt. I have a new spot close to home I'm going to try in 2017 that looks to hold a few deer, along with my usual spots in the NW corner.

In October we're going back to Italy to visit as many wineries as possible in Tuscany, eat good food and relax. And last but not least, sometime around the end of the year I will be retiring from Stanley after nearly 45 years of service. Yup, 2017 is looking pretty good for me.

From: Dr. Williams
10-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Glen. Including January doesn’t “skew” anything if you are looking at “deer per square mile harvested (DPSMH) per zone in 2016” as you stated. Are you suggesting somehow that the deer taken in January in Zones 11 + 12 were not part of total hunter harvest for that season? By purposefully omitting January harvest AND using total land area all zones, you are blatantly attempting to make it appear as though deer harvest in Zone 11 falls somewhere in the middle. What is funny about your posts here is that it is you who manipulate the numbers and include and exclude inconvenient/convenient data to come up with a conclusion that fits your argument, and at the same time, are suggesting that it is I and DEEP who are doing so because we have some “agenda.”

You are correct. I meant zone 12. I will edit my previous post to reflect that.

Fairfield County is the most densely populated and most populous county in the state, accounting for 26.4% of the state’s human population in 2015. Also, Fairfield County’s population rose by 7.4% from 2000-2015 while the entire state population grew by 5.4% during that time. So with Fairfield County’s population increasing at a faster rate than the entire state of CT, it stands to reason that there would be increased development and that deer habitat there would be reduced at a faster rate there than the rest of the state. This makes sense. A vast DEEP conspiracy does not.

Bob. It can be both. Forests are not static and neither is development. For instance, I just showed you the stats for people in Fairfield County. Windham County went from 118,434 people in 2010 to 116,573 in 2015, or a negative 1.5% population “growth”. Certainly there was little development occurring here during that time as forests kept growing and deer habitat increased. Right?

From: tobywon
10-Feb-17

tobywon's embedded Photo
tobywon's embedded Photo
Norman Rockwell hit the nail on the head :)

From: bigbuckbob
10-Feb-17
Doc - but population fluctuations have little to do with deer habitat increasing. Once you build a parking lot, house, office building, school, etc they don't bulldoze it down as soon someone moves the NC, right? Decreasing deer habitat would be tied to increases in population, that I agree with.

BTW - the US Census bureau shows CT lost people between 2015 and 2016, and we've been virtually flat from 2010.

Population estimates, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 3,576,452 Population estimates, July 1, 2015, (V2015) 3,590,886 Population estimates base, April 1, 2010, (V2015) 3,574,118

From: Dr. Williams
10-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Glen. I figured out the solution to your "conspiracy." About changes in deer habitat by Zone. And why some zones changed so much one year to the next and yet, the state total deer habitat stayed the same. That is because of changes to number of towns within the zones. In 1999/2000, Zone 11 did not include Brookfield, New Fairfield, and Sherman. They were in Zone 6. So if you look at the difference in the CT Wildlife numbers you present, from 2000 to 2003, Zone 11 deer habitat increased by 47 square miles and Zone 6 decreased by 47 square miles. Also in 2003, East Haddam and Lyme were added to Zone 12, and removed from Zone 9. If you look at the CT Wildlife numbers you present, from 2000 to 2003, Zone 12 deer habitat increased by 76 square miles and Zone 9 decreased by 76 square miles. Also in 2003, Norfolk and Goshen were added to Zone 2, and removed from Zone 1. If you look at the CT Wildlife numbers you present, from 2000 to 2003, Zone 2 deer habitat increased by 78 square miles and Zone 1 decreased by 78 square miles. And yet for all three data sets 1999/2000 – 2006/2007, the statewide deer habitat remains the same. Then it looks as though they recalculated deer habitat again in 2007. So from 1999 – 2006 there was a total of 3,637 square miles of deer habitat reported statewide and then from 2007 – 2015 there were 3,785 square miles reported, an increase overall which dilutes deer/harvest density, and doesn’t increase it. See. Not a DEEP conspiracy after all. It just took a little investigating and dusting off the old paper Deer Program Summaries.

10-Feb-17

>>---CTCrow--->'s Link

From: Dr. Williams
10-Feb-17
Right Crow. I realize that it is much easier to cry "conspiracy" than to use your brain to figure it out. Glen claimed it, I disproved it. Barf away.

From: notme
10-Feb-17
Bob,if you want real good food hit the puglia region on south east..more real home cooking not that fancy schmansy northen touristy stuff

From: bigbuckbob
10-Feb-17
Doc, holy crap I'm so impressed. That was an awful lot of work. Touche.

From: N8tureBoy
11-Feb-17
Thanks Doc. That's what I was looking for. Was also always wondering what the story was behind 4a and 4b showing up. I assumed one portion shifted to a deer density closer to carrying capacity than the other and they didn't want to make a zone 13

From: Dr. Williams
11-Feb-17
You got it. Yes, 4 a and b were created ahead of the 2003 season along with the other zone changes I mentioned. But it just split up Zone 4 into two.

From: airrow
13-Feb-17
Doc - What you have shown is the change to deer zones in 2003, with several towns changing zones and total zonal square miles; Zones 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12 show increases in deer habitat over the last 14 years. The total increase in deer habitat for these 7 zones is approximately 275 square miles; this increase in deer habitat is unlikely unless structure is removed.

Zones 3, 4a, 4b, 5, 8 and 11 show a loss of deer habitat of approximately 220 square miles. A loss of deer habitat will show a higher dpsm rate of deer habitat.

From 2003-2007 the DEEP used 3,637 square miles of deer habitat; after 2007 the DEEP increased the deer habitat to 3,785 square miles. This is an increase of deer habitat of approximately 148 square miles or 4%; unlikely unless structure is removed.

Here are several examples:

Doc - " Zone 11 deer habitat increased by 47 square miles and Zone 6 decreased by 47 square miles. "

This is what should happen when towns are moved out of Zone 6 and into Zone 11; a net zero effect in which gain in one equal loss in another. This doesn't explain how we now have an increase of approximately 58 square miles / 53 habitat in Zone 11 and an increase of approximately 18 square miles of habitat in Zone 6.

Doc - " Zone 2 deer habitat increased by 78 square miles and Zone 1 decreased by 78 square miles. "

This is what should happen when towns are moved out of Zone 1 and into Zone 2; a net zero effect in which gain in one equal loss in another. This doesn't explain how we now have an increase of approximately 89 square miles / 89 habitat in Zone 2 and an increase of approximately 46 square miles of habitat in Zone 1.

Doc - " Zone 12 deer habitat increased by 76 square miles and Zone 9 decreased by 76 square miles "

Again this is what should happen when towns are moved out of Zone 9 and into Zone 12; a net zero effect in which gain in one equal loss in another. This doesn't explain how we now have an increase of approximately 86 square miles / 83 habitat in Zone 12 and an increase of approximately 52 square miles of habitat in Zone 9.

My favorite is Zone 8, North Branford 25 square miles / 21 habitat moving to Zone 7, which now shows an increase in habitat of approximately 74 square miles.

This is about DEEP manipulating zonal square miles both up and down, using the term "Habitat" to vary deer population surveys within CT.

From: Dr. Williams
13-Feb-17
And I thought this thread was dead. I don't think I need to remind the Bowsite readership that this thread was started by using partial harvest data from 2016 and the entire land area for Zone 11 to "prove" that out of state guys should hunt elsewhere. Once I pointed out deer harvest by square miles of deer habitat puts Zone 11 in the top spot, we are onto DEEP conspiracies. But I digress, yet am happy to oblige.

This is getting jumbled and pretty complicated now. When I was discussing town swaps in zones and changes in deer habitat, I was referring to the differences from 1999-2003 DMZ maps I presented to counter the claim it was a DEEP conspiracy to inflate deer abundance. So now when you are adding in the additional square mileage of habitat, I presume you mean from 2003 as presented to 2015? Now I don't know how DEEP determines what is deer habitat or not, but I do know it is not based on structures. For instance, Zone 11 was what, 291 square miles of deer habitat in 2015 as reported. If Zone 11 is 625 square miles of land area, does that mean that 334 square miles or 53% is structures? I don't think so. And again, if this is a vast DEEP conspiracy, why are they "creating" more deer habitat to dilute harvest/deer abundance? If they reported lesser land area, it would make it appear as if densities were increased. And trees grow and old fields revert to forests over time. Ecological succession is not static but rather a dynamic process so deer habitat is being created all the time. It doesn't require an excavator to raze a building to "create" deer habitat. Are we so far removed from nature that we think this is how it works now?

I will give you North Branford and I always remember it being in Zone 8. I will check those numbers tomorrow but am guessing it is an oversight and DEEP isn't trying to manipulate statewide deer numbers by neglecting to switch North Branford deer habitat from Zone 8 to 7. A big chunk of North Branford wasn't hunted in 2003 so that tactic wouldn't make sense for a conspiracy either.

From: Mike in CT
14-Feb-17
I think we need to attempt to circle back to the proximity of reality and look again at the OP and the factual and speculative content contained.

1. Variable #1 is deer killed and a deer is a deer in all 12 DMZ's so I think we can agree that this unit of measure is equal for all 12 DMZ's.

2. Variable #2 is the second unit of measure, time. There is a perfectly valid reason for the OP using the time period of 9/15/2016-12/31/16; it's not a partial season for 10 of the 12 DMZ's (1-10) but a full season. Only 2 of the 12 DMZ's (11 and 12) extend the season into January so in order to maintain equality in this variable the unit of measure (time) must be equal for all 12 DMZ's. The validity of this should not be in dispute; I'm fairly certain no one would argue that dealing 10 players 3 cards and 2 players 4 cards produce identical hands of cards.

3. Variable #3 is the denominator in this equation; the final unit of measure which would be the zones being compared. While it's equally indisputable to state that a square mile in one DMZ is a square mile in another and use that for the unit of measure while it provides a universal constant in overall terms it is equally indisputable that not all zones are equally apportioned in terms of habitat.

This is where the debate begins and likely where there will never be universally accepted resolution. All that remains is an understanding of what constitutes "habitat" and I haven't seen anyone here advance absolute understanding of the term.

One other facet of this final variable that I've yet to see considered here is a final indisputable fact; only two of the 12 DMZ's allow baiting (11 and 12) and while it isn't provable beyond a reasonable doubt I strongly suspect this isn't factored into the square miles of habitat in either zone 11 and 12. Why do I suspect this? I suspect it for the simple fact that the amount of "artificial habitat" is unquantifiable; there is no requirement for any hunter to list whether they bait or not on the annual survey form and the DEEP lacks the resources to even begin to account for this practice.

Now I suppose it could be argued that this "artificial habitat" is irrelevant and if we're arguing about the course of year I'd agree. The problem though is we're trying to quantify a situation that doesn't exist over the span of a year but rather in a window of 3 1/2 months (in the span of 9/15/2016-12/31/2016 for clarity) of the year and in that time, as has been referenced in another thread deer can be drawn onto land they aren't on and legally harvested.

Since we are, in the end trying to obtain some comparative measurement of hunting we must include all facets of hunting, this being one of them.

Now while I'll be the first to admit this exercise (this thread) is preferable to shoveling snow or watching it melt this is the extent of my willingness to further indulge the time-sucking vortex that threads like this eventually devolve into.

I think, as I indicated in my initial post, while an interesting hypothesis (dhpsm) the numbers contained would have served all best by being taken "with the proverbial grain of salt."

This too shall pass......

From: bigbuckbob
14-Feb-17
I really don't care about all of the details being thrown around on this thread, but let me boil it down to one question. WHY is the state changing the sizes of zones at all? What purpose does it serve? If a certain piece of a zone has too little or too many deer, just change the tags allowed to manage it and leave a consistent base to measure the data against.

From: Dr. Williams
14-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Like I said, I am happy to oblige. But the moving target to “prove” there are no deer left in Zone 11 is really obvious and not believable. Now we are in conspiracy theory mode where DEEP is incorrectly manipulating numbers to make it appear like there are tons of deer. DEEP publishes all these numbers annually in their Deer Program Summary. This image is of all the deer habitat in square miles per zone by year since 1999 as taken from the relevant Deer Program Summary (there are some rounding errors with the zonal switches in 2003, but I think we can all agree that from 1999-2006, total deer habitat is equal). Glen is correct that the CT Wildlife numbers used old data that did not include the switch of North Branford from Zone 8 to 7 in 2003. However, that change is reflected in the 2003 Deer Program Summary. If you look in the table above, you will see from 2002 to 2003, Zone 7 went up by 19 and Zone 8 went down by 19 to reflect that switch. I would use the Deer Program Summary numbers as the “official” numbers. This is clearly an oversight by DEEP as published in CT Wildlife and not about “. . . DEEP manipulating zonal square miles both up and down, using the term "Habitat" to vary deer population surveys within CT.” They are going to have to try harder to do that than forgetting to switch 19 square miles of habitat over, or 0.52% of total reported CT deer habitat.

Bob, to answer your question, DEEP switched up the zones in 2003 as described for management purposes. Each zone is managed as its own entire entity; portions of zones are not managed differently than other portions of that same zone. That is why zonal changes were made. Then it appears that in 2007, DEEP looked at deer habitat and found that it increased by 147 square miles from 1999 if not before. And they have been using those same 2007 numbers since. In the past 10 years, they are not doing a very good job of “manipulating zonal square miles both up and down, using the term "Habitat" to vary deer population surveys within CT.” Someone should tell them to get on the ball.

From: airrow
14-Feb-17
Doc - " And again, if this is a vast DEEP conspiracy, why are they "creating" more deer habitat to dilute harvest/deer abundance? If they reported lesser land area, it would make it appear as if densities were increased. "

Doc is now explaining what we already know; showing less haditat will show a higher deer density per square mile.

Doc - " Now I don't know how DEEP determines what is deer habitat or not, but I do know it is not based on structures. For instance, Zone 11 was what, 291 square miles of deer habitat in 2015 as reported. If Zone 11 is 625 square miles of land area, does that mean that 334 square miles or 53% is structures? I don't think so. "

Why is the DEEP using the deer habitat figures of -53% in zone 11, -33% in zone 12, -23% in zone 7,- 20% in zone 4b and -14% in zone 8 ?

* Percentages shown are the difference between actual zonal square miles and DEEP square miles of habitat.

Example - Zone 11 - 625 square miles converted to 292 DEEP square miles of habitat = -53%.

Why is the DEEP using a deer habitat figures of -0.22% in zone 1, -2% in zone 10, -3% in zone 2, -4% in zone 9, -4% in zone 4a and -8% in zone 6 ?

* Percentages shown are the difference between actual zonal square miles and DEEP square miles of habitat.

Example - Zone 1 - 345.38 square miles converted to 344.59 DEEP square miles of habitat = -0.22%

Most States in the Country use deer per square mile or deer per acres when estimating deer populations and do not use " deer per square mile habitat "; we now see the reason why !

From: Dr. Williams
14-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo

Dr. Williams's Link
Zone 11 isn’t 53% deer habitat, it’s 47% (291 of 625 square miles). Zone 12 isn’t 33% deer habitat, it is 72% (350 of 485.8 square miles). Your numbers don’t make sense. Do you mean non-deer habitat? Zone 8 is 18% deer habitat? I don’t think so. Zone 8 is in the most heavily forested portion of the state. “Why is the DEEP using a deer habitat figure of 0.22% in zone 1, 2% in zone 10, 3% in zone 2, 4% in zone 9 and 8% in zone 6 ?” To answer your question, they are not using those figures. Can you elaborate what these numbers are supposed to represent?

As Mike said and he is right, that we can look at deer harvest per land area of each zone. But it doesn’t really paint an accurate picture for all the reasons mentioned already. Remember the “concrete jungle?” A more meaningful depiction of harvest density is to look at harvest density on lands on which deer are being harvested, aka. “deer habitat” which doesn't include downtown Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, etc. So we could also look at annual harvest density using the entire area of CT including water (5,543 square miles), the land area of CT (4,845 square miles), or we could look at deer harvest density from where the deer were actually harvested (3,785 square miles). I think we all know which figure is most accurate, but then again, conflicts with your mantra that there are no deer left in Zone 11, therefore, it’s a DEEP conspiracy to inflate deer abundance.

If anyone actually cares about CT’s changing landscape, UConn CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research) has been tracking it for some time. Look in the link for great maps, data, land cover, impervious surfaces, and all of their changes over time. This is by watershed basin and not by deer hunting zone, which is probably why DEEP has not updated it deer habitat in 10 years. Go here: http://www.clear.uconn.edu/projects/landscapeLIS/summary/index.htm and look at the basin changes from 1985 to 2010. I know they are not DMZs, but you can get a picture what is going on throughout different areas of the state. It is data like these DEEP uses to make the deer habitat determination.

From: Will
14-Feb-17
Minor side step from standard programming: Dr Williams - do those CLEAR mapping tools include things like aquifer mapping? Just curious. Here in MA there are some amazing mapping tools available, and man, if you want to find awesome wild trout habitat, looking over those maps for the areas with the best aquifers is a great step - especially if you can see substrate to see how it may impact water pH. Never thought to do that for CT, so when you noted it, it jumped to mind.

Back to regularly scheduled deer population discussion.

From: Dr. Williams
14-Feb-17
Ha. That's great detective work but this is land use and land cover by watershed. Basically a program to protect/understand what is dumping into Long Island Sound.

From: Will
15-Feb-17
Dr Williams - thanks for the info. I appreciate it!

From: bigbuckbob
15-Feb-17
Doc - I understand what airrow is saying, and it sounds like you're both saying the same thing from opposite perspectives. Zone 11 has 291 sq miles of deer habitat of the total 625 square miles. Airrow is saying the DEEP is subtracting -53% of the sq miles from the deer habitat and you're saying there's 47% of deer habitat = same thing.

From: Dr. Williams
15-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Bob, yes now Glen has edited his post to explain the numbers so they make more sense. In the attached image, I included average human population density per square mile for each town within each of the DMZs found here (http://www.ct.gov/ecd/cwp/view.asp?a=1106&q=250664). As you can see, the DMZs with higher human population densities have less deer habitat. Zone 1 is the least densely human populated DMZ with a whoppingly low 76 people/square mile, so it stands to reason that the supermajority of that zone is undeveloped and would be considered deer habitat. Conversely, Zones 7, 12, 3, and 11 are the most densely human populated DMZs and have the lowest amount of deer habitat due to development and increased impervious surfaces. It seems pretty clear to me.

From: airrow
21-Feb-17

airrow's embedded Photo
airrow's embedded Photo
CT DEEP ZONES 1-12 / 2016

From: Dr. Williams
21-Feb-17
You should label both of your y axes. Gets confusing when there are two.

From: Dr. Williams
21-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Here's a more appropriate chart for a bow hunting site.

From: bigbuckbob
21-Feb-17
I thought "Deer Habitat" area was more important than total land area per zone? I think you guys are spending way too much time look at numbers. I spent this weekend scouting for deer. First mile of my walk, nothing! But then I found a spot where all the actions was, but that's typical with so much snow still on the ground. All the deer were pawing the ground for acorns. DPSM??? No idea, but I know where to find them to keep me happy.

From: Dr. Williams
21-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Also, I am having trouble understanding your “Hunting Aids/Restrictions” section. Now I know the answers to what I am proposing, but your inclusion and exclusion of January and baiting seems arbitrary. You say that in Zones 2, 3, and 4a, that there is no Sunday hunting, no baiting, and no January. Then for Zones 1, 4b, and 5-10 you say that there is Sunday hunting only. So, does this mean that baiting is legal and there is a January season for these 8 zones? Does this mean I can go out and hunt state land on Sundays in these zones? Can I use my rifle on state land on Sundays in January in Zones 11 and 12 and shoot as many deer as I want over bait? Also, if you are talking about January season here, why are you only presenting Sept-Dec data graphically? If this section pertains mostly to archery hunting, why are you including firearms take data graphically? The image above clarifies things.

From: Dr. Williams
21-Feb-17

Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Dr. Williams's embedded Photo
Here you go Bob.

From: airrow
22-Feb-17

airrow's embedded Photo
airrow's embedded Photo
The first two things that should be obvious is there are two constants that have never changed in all these discussions; the actual land in square miles for any deer management zone and the number of deer killed (by whatever method or combination of methods) in any deer management zone.

Only when one parameter, land, by shifting this metric to "habitat" do the numbers shift when determining deer taken/unit of measure. It should be easily apparent what decreasing the unit of measure (land to habitat) does to the number of deer taken per that unit of measure; it increases, and it increases substantially. If one's goal was to promote the need for unlimited doe tags, baiting and January hunting this would certainly meet that goal.

From: Dr. Williams
22-Feb-17
Buh. Deer live in deer habitat by definition. They don't live in parking garages in Bridgeport or high rises in Stamford or downtown Danbury. There are almost a million people living in Zone 11. With that comes conversion of deer habitat to human development. There is no conspiracy. Zone 11 just has lots of deer, lots of people, and lots of development.

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