The Nature Conservancy's Sunny Valley Preserve in New Milford has announced a controlled hunt at designated preserves during the upcoming state-designated shotgun/rifle hunting season, through Dec. 10.

The management effort will be conducted only Nov. 29, Dec. 2-6 and Dec. 9-10.

The preserve's Rocky Hill and Iron Ore parcels on Christian Street and Benson Road, the Silica Mine and Lake Lillinonah parcels located on Hemlock Street, and the Drumlin Hill Farm located on Second Hill Road in Bridgewater will be closed to the public on these days, and signs will be posted at all public entrances.

The Nature Conservancy has decided to hunt deer at these parcels because the population is well beyond the carrying capacity of the forest. Sustained over time, these unnaturally large populations of deer have damaged the forest understory and contribute to the gradual loss of native flowering plants.

Many tree species, oaks in particular, are unable to regenerate because acorns and saplings are being eaten by the deer.

The deer management effort will only take place in select areas of the preserve's interior, away from the edges of the preserve and neighboring residences.

All participating hunters are experienced sportsmen with excellent knowledge of the preserve, and have been recruited by the staff at the Sunny Valley Preserve.