Saddle River officials and citizens recently met to debate whether to introduce hunting to the Saddle River borough of New Jersey to deal with a burgeoning whitetail deer population.
On Oct. 1, more than 50 residents, officials and state wildlife representatives met at the Saddle River Town Hall and agreed that there were too many deer in the area, and it’s a problem that requires action.
What has not been agreed on as of yet is if the methods at reduction should be lethal or non-lethal.
There were voices of support for both lethal or non-lethal methods to reduce the growing deer population, with state biologists indicating that experience shows non-lethal methods are too costly and not effective in reducing deer numbers.
One councilman, Paul Schustad, put forth a draft ordinance that would allow controlled archery hunting for deer on privately owned land in the borough.
Not all residents of the community of 3,000 are supportive of hunting as a control method, such as Michael Bertoli, himself a hunter who had this to say:
“I have no problem with hunting,” but he warns that allowing hunting amongst the two acre private lots could open up a “Pandora’s box.”
State biologists countered the anti-hunting stance indicating that hunters are well trained, follow the law, and archery hunting is the best method to reduce the deer population.
To the suprise of some attendees State representatives also would only support non-lethal approaches if at first the borough allowed controlled hunting to reduce deer numbers.
One of the officials, Wildlife Management Acting Chief Carole Stanko, highlighted the severity of the problem, “Having 10 or 15 deer in a yard is not normal or desirable.” She also indicated complaints from residents accross New Jersey are on the rise as increasing deer numbers can “wreak havoc” on forests and yards and “If people won’t allow hunters on their property, we can’t manage the deer adequately.”
Meetings are being planned to continue in late October to further consider the issue in detail.