WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Growing animal populations present challenges

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Growing animal populations present challenges


Seen any wild critters lately? Edna and I have, and from all appearances they are everywhere. Just the other day we were coming down Westfield Road by Baldwin Pond when a fox came out of North Wall Street and skirted across the road into the yard of one of the local residents. It was not healthy looking at all. In fact it looked like someone had shaved all of the fur off of it including the tail, and this happened at noon.

Next up, a couple of days later we were on our way home again up Westfield Road when we happened to see some kids on bikes and they were stopped an looking up the driveway on one of the homes on the corner of Milton Drive. There was a deer walking up the driveway like it had not a care in the world. It was a doe and there was no fawn with it and this was about 6:30 p.m.

During the same week we were on Allen Avenue when we had to stop our car for a flock of young turkeys crossing the road, shepherded by a hen. They were in no rush and did not seem to be bothered by our presence.

Again in the same week, we had to once again hit the brakes only this time it was on Research Parkway. A family of Canada geese were crossing the road and heading to one of the ponds on Research. We have been watching them over the past week and the babies are getting quite big and look like they are ready to take wing. In all likelihood they will end up pooping all over Hubbard Park, enticed by the hordes of well-meaning (but greatly misinformed) park goers who insist on feeding the geese all kinds of junk that is really doing them more harm than good.

And then I pick up the June 28, 2018 Meriden Record-Journal and it carries reports and a photo of a black bear in a back yard in of all places, Oregon Road. It was after the seeds in the residence’s bird feeder, but this is also in an area heavily used by humans. You have Platt High School and Wilcox Tech on one side of Oregon Road and the Linear Trail alongside the Quinnipiac River that is heavily used by humans.

And then a bear is reported being spotted by Roberts Chrysler-Dodge on Broad St. and there is no reason to believe that it was the same bear.

There was a time that here in Connecticut, “bear” was just a word, and there were no bears or at least bear sightings, but all of that has changed over the years. The same goes for wild turkeys and deer, and yes, even those pooping Canada geese.

Some of the Canada geese, have changed their nomadic ways over the years when they would travel south in huge V’s before winter and then back north to their breeding grounds in the spring of the year. Now they have taken up permanent residence in Connecticut and are called “resident’ or “nuisance” geese. Sad to say, folks like the well-meaning ones who flock to Hubbard Park to feed bread that is very unhealthy for these once wild creatures turning them into domestic beggars.

As for the deer, back in 1896, the first biennial report of the Commission of Fish and Game stated, “There are at least one dozen live wild deer within the boundaries of the state.” From all appearances, it looked like the many new farms had something to do with the increase of the deer because the habitat was changed more to their liking as the deer population continued to grow. Now just about any patch of woods in a suburban area is likely to have some deer in it.

Just this past winter after one of the bigger snow storms, I was going down River Road by the Quinnipiac River. On the hillside across from the area of Charlie’s Rock I saw and counted 12 deer trying to feed on whatever they could get off of the hill. I have heard complaints from some of the residents on Diamond Hill in South Meriden of the deer coming right into their yards an eating expensive ornamental plants.

And no one ever expected the wild turkeys to multiply the way they did. It still boggles the mind when you think that the thousands of wild turkeys that now call Connecticut home were the result of the stocking of a small flock back in the 70s up in the northwestern part of Connecticut.

And of course, we now have some moose in Connecticut that have taken up residence. Their number are low enough that they have yet to become a problem, unless you are unfortunate enough to hit one while you are driving.

Coyotes? We have plenty of them and I have received numerous reports over the years of many of them being seen within the city limits. Coyotes are opportunists when it comes to surviving. They are also a danger to small pets. Edna was walking our two little pets, Charlie and Abby up at Research Parkway one evening when a lady stopped to warn her about a hungry looking coyote that appeared out of the woods when she was walking her pet. Since then I have been relegated to “Guard Duty” during our pets walk time.

And for those who might think that coyotes are not brazen enough to come into someone’s yard, our niece had a coyote come right up onto her porch and grab a cat that had been sleeping peacefully on the porch. Fortunately our niece caught the critter in the act and screamed at it, making it drop the cat and run. The cat survived with nothing but a bad memory on what a coyote’s breath smells like up close and personal.

As for the black bears that have been showing up all over our area. Common sense dictates that you give them as wide a berth as possible if you have an encounter with one. They are not “Boo Boo” or “Yogi” featured in cartoons on the tube. They do have the ability and have been known to cause serious harm to humans over the years and yes, they can kill you if things go wrong.

I said it once and I will say it again, I do not envy the DEEP with whatever decisions they will have to make because of the increase in the bear population. I would think that allowing a hunter to purchase a bear tag on the chance that they might get a chance to take one while deer hunting might be a partial solution.

Of course the animal rights group will protest any such action. But if that is ever the case, why not make them responsible for any mishaps caused by an over-population of black bears.

Big Doug’s Memorial Saltwater Shootoff

This event will benefit the shoreline soup kitchens. It runs July 14th and 15th and is a catch and release contest for stripers and bluefish. For more info go to www.BigDougsFishing.com.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.