Thursday, July 16, 2009

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Proposed Hunt Draws Ire

A deer hunt proposed by town officials has sparked the ire of several residents, who say the idea is inhumane, unsafe and irresponsible.

"It focuses on the desires of a select group of individuals: bowhunters," said attorney Wendy Bozzolasco, a Denville resident with an interest in animal rights.
Bozzolasco was one of several critics, some of whom live outside the township, who urged the town council Tuesday night to abandon the idea of a hunt.

The town explored the concept last month in response to concerns that the towns deer population has become so large that it is now a threat to the environment and drivers.

Council President Chris Dour said low-lying vegetation has been disappearing because of the deer herd.

Council members reached a consensus last month to work with the United Bowhunters of New Jersey. The nonprofit group, an association of bowhunters, plans to hunt deer from elevated stands in isolated areas.

No binding approval has been made, and details are still being worked out. The council hopes to run a 30-day trial of the program after the hunting season starts in mid-September.

Still, Bozzolasco and several others said the proposal lacks an awareness of all the consequences.

Former Councilwoman Laurie Toth said she thinks the town is too dense for the hunters to remain in seclusion. Councilman Nick Stecky echoed those reservations, saying that "kids don't walk on the paths all the time."

Above all, Bozzolasco said, bowhunts often don't kill deer swiftly or cleanly.

Instead, she said, the town should employ non-lethal methods, such as installing fences and trimming vegetation in grazing areas. Deer contraception and sterilization should also be done, she said.

That way, she said, the deer population will drop naturally as the food supply runs out.

Mayor Ted Hussa said yesterday that the critics claims arent necessarily supportable.

"We're not saying were going to have a hunt every year," he said. "Right now, it's the right thing to do."

Meredith Petrillo, Denvilles animal control officer, believes that not doing the bow hunt could mean more agonzing deaths for local deer.

"Mother Nature would be very cruel in terminating the lives of deer via starvation," she said.


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