Thursday, August 20, 2009

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Denville Approves Deer Hunt

The Denville Township Council voted in favor of a deer hunt and will meet next month to discuss how to institute it in a safe manner.

"Initially I was opposed to the deer hunt," said township councilwoman Deborah A. Smith. "But after hearing testimony on the state of deer in Denville and how unhealthy they are, I am in support of the culling of the heard."

Denville's 11 square miles can not sustain the 2,000 deer that populate the area (182 deer per square mile!), according to Smith, who said that having a hunt will preserve both the deer and local vegetation which deer are eating due to lack of adequate food supply. The vote was taken Tuesday night.

The manner in which the hunt will take place and when will be discussed at the next meeting, which will be held on Sept. 1 in the municipal building at 1 St. Mary's Place.

In response to concerns about safety, the town will publish the locations and dates of the hunts, which will likely be done by bow hunters. The town will also require hunters go through a training program to learn how to hunt in as humane a manner as possible, Smith said.

Some Denville residents oppose the hunt, which would be the township's first in recent memory.

Wendy Bozzolasco, a concerned Denville resident and Morristown attorney, said she has researched the implications of deer hunts extensively and opposes them because they will exacerbate some of the problems they are intended to solve: automotive collisions and ticks among humans.

Citing a study from the Erie Auto Insurance Group, Bozzolasco said that insurance claims often increase during deer hunting seasons because deer, fleeing hunters often enter the roadway. Moreover, killing deer, Bozzolasco said, can increase Lyme disease among humans because deer do not spread the disease. Rather they act as hosts for ticks, she said.

"Deer are not a vector species for Lyme disease. A white tail mouse is the vector species," Bozzolasco said. "Ticks need a large bodied warm host," and when there are less deer, ticks seek out people, she said.

Bozzolasco said there are legal implications to moving forward with the proposed deer hunt and the town's plan to donate excess venison to a charity in Paterson.

"There are repercussions in terms of liability if people are injured or property damaged and specifics of that have not been discussed," Bozzolasco said. "What liability would there be if toxic meat would be donated."

Smith said the council has considered the legal implications of allowing a hunt.

"We're always concerned about those things. The group we're talking to carries their own liability. It's been done in Mountain Lakes and in Randolph," said Smith. "This is not a new thing."

Denville resident Genie Cisti, 48, suggested other alternatives include installing roadside reflectors that would discourage deer from entering roadways and encouraging residents to plant deer resistant plants.

Source: DailyRecord

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