Tuesday, September 01, 2009

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Newark Considers Urban Deer Cull

Newark soon might follow in Granville and Heath's footsteps and establish a program to eliminate deer within the city.

Monday, Newark City Council's Service Committee listened to a presentation by Granville Clerk of Council Mollie Prasher to stimulate ideas.

"It has become an issue not just of inconvenience but of appropriate stewardship. My personal opinion is we are being good stewards of the earth by addressing this issue," Prasher said referring to the overpopulation of deer because of a lack of a natural predator and the resulting possibility of disease.

The council has heard complaints from Newark residents for several years about the number of deer and the resulting damage to property and car crashes. Many council members have wanted to approve bowhunting within the city but have been met with resistance from residents who don't want hunting near their home. The discussion never has moved into a solid proposal, however.

No specifics were discussed Monday, but Newark residents have been encouraged to add their name to a list if they are willing to allow hunting on their property.

Granville will enter its third season permitting bowhunting within the city this year. Last year, 95 deer were recorded as killed as a result of the program, 20 of which were shot on a single property.

One of the keys, Prasher said, is the hunters and property owners always have contact with one another before the hunter enters a property. Many owners ask for specific hunters.

"You have to know who is coming on to your property with a weapon," Prasher said.

Before hunters are approved, they must pass a background check and pass a proficiency test.

Prasher said she has developed zones, made up of groups of property owners, and each hunter is assigned to a zone for 13 days at a time. Hunters are provided with a parking permit, an aerial map of the area, a plat map and a card to identify themselves.

"I have had no residents call in to complain," Prasher said. "I don't think everyone (in Granville) is happy we are hunting, but they are tolerating it."

Granville also pays for the meat to be processed and donates any the hunter does not wish to keep.

Several Newark residents also supported action because of the property damage they had experienced or because of the effects on the deer of overpopulation.

One resident said he has seen as many as 23 deer in his yard at one time.

Source: Newark Advocate

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