Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Watchung Burough to Cull Deer

he borough's three-month deer management program is expected to begin later this week and end in mid-April.

As with all deer-hunt programs statewide, the borough had to get a Community-Based Deer Management Program Permit issued through the state's Division of Fish and Wildlife. The New Jersey Fish and Game Council in October approved the supervised hunt.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife said 47,017 deer were killed statewide during the 2007-08 season with a bow, shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle. Locally, 116 deer were killed during that season in the borough, said Clerk/Administrator Laureen Fellin.

While the borough's deer hunt is limited from January to April, neighboring Warren holds deer-hunt sessions in the fall, early winter and winter, with each period designated for a particular kind of hunting technique, such as bow, firearm or shotgun.

According to a borough-provided outline of how this year's cull will work, the hunt includes tracts of land under borough and private ownership.

These five tracts of borough-owned land will allow controlled deer hunting:

— Nine acres west of Somerset Street.

— Fewer than 20 acres on the west end of Mountain Boulevard.

— One and one-half acres on Drift Road.

— Fewer than 10 acres on Sequoia Drive.

— Fewer than six and one-half acres between Route 22 west and Johnston Drive.

The six parcels of privately owned land designated for the hunt are:

— Stonley Lane's south end, 1.5 acres.

— Nineteen acres on the west side of Bonnie Burn Road.

— Lower Johnston Drive, 1.7 acres.

— The east side of Elsinore Drive, 1.5 acres.

— High Tor Drive, 1.5 acres on the northwest side.

— Old Somerset Road, 1.5 acres.

Hunting is allowed only from elevated tree stands and only by employees of the firm authorized to do the hunt, Fellin said.

Hunters must follow a number of rules, Fellin said. Among them: hunters cannot keep a deer's rack; all deer meat must be taken to a certified butcher for preparation and distribution to local food banks.

As in past years, the borough employs various outlets to keep residents abreast of the program's progress.

A 24-hour hot line — 908-756-0368 — will be reinstated for operation during the 100 or so days of the season to provide residents with updates and information about the dates each tract will be open for hunting.

The borough also posts deer season information on cable Channel 15, posts spots on Watchung Radio 1610 AM and at www.watchungnj.com.

There is some evidence that local governments are looking to expand the seasonal hunts to include other wildlife.

Hillsborough, for example, recently approved an ordinance to allow the controlled hunting of coyote and fox, in addition to deer. The introduction of the ordinance did provoke a few township residents to speak out against adding wildlife to the hunt.

For example, township resident Rose Rosenbaum said at a December public hearing on the ordinance that she did not believe a hunt effectively prevents car accidents in Hillsborough. There has been an increase in deer-related accidents in Hillsborough between 2006 and 2007, according to motor vehicle data.

Source: mycentraljersey.com

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