Thursday, August 20, 2009

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Deer Census A Likely Prelude to Deer Cull

The white-tailed deer population in the township could soon find themselves being watched. This week the Township Committee unanimously approved a resolution encouraging Union County to study the number of deer that live in the parks and wooded areas in Cranford.

The move comes after a discussion in July when members of the Cranford Environmental Commission, Hanson Park Conversancy, the Tree Advisory Board, and the Union County Board of Agriculture called for the committee to act on the issue. Making their case, residents said last month that white-tailed deer had crowded into wooded areas of Nomehegan Park and the grassy land of the Lenape Basin before moving into the surrounding residential areas, crossing major roads such as Springfield Avenue and Kenilworth Boulevard along the way.

The Township Committee members agreed with the idea of helping to thin the herd, passing the resolution that mentioned a visual inspection of the areas the deer frequent that showed a clear loss of the understory of vegetatrion in the parkland.

The move has drawn comments on both sides of the issue, with some residents supporting a deer hunt as a humane way to deal with a deer population that is out of control, while others have objected to any attempts to thin the herd as a cruel reaction to animals forced out by of their habitat by suburban sprawl.

According to the Cranford Police Department, there have been few accidents involving collisions between a deer and a vehicle, however, the accidents have been reported on Springfield Avenue, Kenilworth Boulevard and Orange Avenue.

While Union County allows a deer hunt in the area around the Watchung Reservation, usually once each year, such a measure has never been held in the area of the township.

Even with the resolution seeking action with regard to the white-tail deer population, the committee members said they would encourage efforts to thin the herd, such as trapping and relocation, or birth control measures.

"We'll make it clear that we want a shotgun hunt to be a method of last resort," Mayor David Robinson said this week of the efforts.


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