By Stuart Chaifetz
The Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife (Fish
and Game) is a state agency that is part of the NJ Department of Environmental
Protection. The salaries of Fish and Game employees are paid for
by the sale of hunting licenses, and they must sell more than $11,000,000
worth of licenses just to cover their salaries and benefits. This
creates a conflict of interest, as the state agency that should
be protecting wild animals profits from their death.
HUNTING INCREASES DEER POPULATIONS
When a large number of deer are removed from a herd through
hunting, competition for food, water, space and breeding opportunities
is reduced. The herd reacts to the sudden kill with increased breeding,
and, with plenty of food to go around, more females become pregnant,
and twin and triplet births often occur.
In their 1990 report, "An Assessment of Deer Hunting in
New Jersey," Fish and Game offered a detailed example of this
process. It says: "One of the most dramatic examples of the
effect of habitat improvement or food availability on reproductive
capacity occurred in the Earle Naval Ammunition Depot in Monmouth
County. Range conditions improved in this case by an annual removal
of deer by hunting.
Between 1968 and 1973 the reproductive rate almost doubled,
an indication that the herd was in much healthier condition. The
estimated fawn crop in 1969 was 116 fawns produced by 122 females,
a reproductive rate of 0.95 fawns per doe, compared to 1974 when
78 does produced 133 fawns, or 1.70 fawns per doe." (Burke
et al. 1975).
Fish and Game's report shows that even during hunting seasons
in which killing female deer was the objective, the remaining females
had increased birthrates that not only replaced the ones killed,
but increased the overall size of the herd.
EXAMPLE: MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD STATE
In 1990, Fish and Game pushed through an annual deer hunt at
Monmouth Battlefield State Park. They said that this was to be
a "deer reduction hunt," and that hunting was the only
way to reduce the size of the deer herd. After nearly a decade,
and the slaughter of 600 deer, hunting has completely and utterly
failed to reduce the deer herd.
Before hunting was implemented at the park, Fish and Game stated
that the population was 200. Other estimates showed the population
was even lower, at 150. On March 28, 1998, Fish and Game performed
an aerial deer census of the park. 254 deer were counted, a 27%
increase since the hunts had been initiated.
EXAMPLE: LEWIS MORRIS COUNTY PARK
The Morris County Park Commission is using the Washington Valley
Area to compare the size of the deer herd in the years before and
after the Lewis Morris Park hunts. In 1997, an aerial survey counted
363 deer. In 1998, after more than 200 deer had been slaughtered,
the count was 502, a 38% rise in the deer population since the
hunts had been initiated.
The Park Commission's own documents also reveal a rise in birth
rates after the implementation of hunting. In their 1997-98 report
on the hunt, their data showed that the percentage of pregnant
females rose 7.4% after the first year of hunting.
One participant in the Lewis Morris County Park deer hunt revealed
the true nature of the hunts. His reason for killing deer? "I
came for the pleasure," he said. (Daily Record, Nov. 20, 1997).
Princeton has had annual bowhunting seasons for decades, but
in 1991 they reinstituted a shotgun hunting season, claiming it
would reduce the deer population. From 1991 to 1997, 1,052 deer
were killed. Before the shotgun season began, it was stated that
the deer population was at 800. After a thousand deer were killed
in just 7 years, the stated size of the deer population for 1998
was 1,200, a 50% rise in the size of the deer population.
EXAMPLE: GREAT SWAMP WILDLIFE REFUGE
In 1974, a hunt was initiated at the Great Swamp Refuge to "reduce
the deer herd." Hunters have killed more than 4,000 deer at
Great Swamp, and yet the deer herd is larger than ever. When asked
has hunting stimulated or made a healthier population, William
Koch, Manager of the Great Swamp Refuge, replied, "We have
healthier animals, and they have healthier reproduction." There
have been more than 25 years of hunting at the refuge, and no reduction
in the size of the deer herd.
GAME AGENCIES USE FEAR TO WIN PUBLIC
SUPPORT FOR HUNTING
There are those who know the power of fear, and prey upon it
to further their own agenda. This is the sad reality of what has
happened with the issue of Lyme disease. The truth is that deer
are not the cause of this disease, and killing them will not make
anyone safer. Lyme disease is a reason to be watchful for ticks
on your body, not a reason to kill deer.
At the Aug. 5, 1993 Assembly Environment Committee, James Blumenstock,
Director of New Jersey Consumer Health Services, spoke about Lyme
disease. The following is a basic summary of his main points:
There is no significant relationship between deer management,
specifically population control efforts, and the level of deer
ticks and the incidence of Lyme disease for the following reasons:
1. Nymphs (a stage of the tick), which are responsible for
most of the cases, get their blood meals on the white-footed
mouse, not the deer.
2. Adult ticks will adapt if you reduce or remove deer from
the area; they will seek alternative hosts.
Another important fact about Lyme disease comes from an article
in Consumers Reports: "Killing deer has been suggested as
a way to attack Lyme disease. But experts say such action is premature
and dangerous. Deprived of their usual hosts, infected adult ticks
become a more immediate nuisance, as happened when deer on an island
off Massachusetts were virtually exterminated. Wandering ticks
threatened the populace as they searched for new hosts." (Consumers
Reports, June 1988)
If the slaughter of nearly every deer made matters worse, then
using hunting to reduce the occurrence of Lyme disease is unwise
Hunting, far from being a deterrent for collisions, is in fact
a cause of them. According to the National Highway Traffic and
Safety Administration, most car/deer collisions happen during hunting
season. It is not difficult to understand why hunting in the woods
would send deer out onto the roads, in a panic.
The relationship between hunting and car/deer collisions was
pointed out by the co-owner of M&S Removal, a state contractor
that removes deer carcasses from roadways: "Many deer run
onto roadways this time of year because 'hunters are scaring them
out of the woods.' "(Asbury Park Press, Dec 14, 1997)
In an article relating a serious car/deer collision, which
occurred on the opening day of the 1998 shotgun hunting season,
a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection
said "the presence of hunters in the woods puts animals, including
deer and bear, on the run and often causes them to leave wooded
areas." (Trenton Times, Dec. 8, 1998) A proven way to reduce
the number of car/deer collisions is by the use of roadside reflectors.
These devices create a barrier when light from headlights bounce
off them, keeping deer off the roads. One such device, Strieter-Lite,
has been tested for years and has been proven to reduce car/deer
collisions from 60% to 100%.
AN EXCUSE TO KILL ALLEGED PREDATORS
On the one hand, Fish and Game claims deer hunting is necessary
because there are no natural predators, yet on the other, they
distribute permits to kill the natural predators. New Jersey's
coyotes, like deer, have been targeted for recreational killing.
NJ has both hunting and trapping season for this natural predator.
One of the reasons they are being killed is that many hunters see
coyotes as competitors for deer. Coyotes' effectiveness as predators
was stated by Robert Eisele, one of the top coyote hunters in NJ:
"Coyotes have been tearing up the deer population down
here," Eisele said. "You hardly see any fawns anymore.
They don't eradicate them all, but they keep the population in
check." (Bergen Record, Feb. 16, 1999)
At the beginning of this century there were few if any deer
in our state. Hunters and the Fish and Game agency at that time
restocked and bred deer for the sole purpose that they should be
killed for recreation.
More than a 1,000,000 deer have been killed since that time.
Deer are not malicious, they are simply a species trying to survive
in a world that we created for them. They are, and have been, victims
of those who take recreation in killing, and those who profit from
Contact STU CHAIFITZ at Honor and Non-Violence for Animals,
45 Davos Road, Brick NJ 08724, email@example.com "Each
and every animal is a unique being that feels joy and pain, and
suffers as we would when harmed. They are all worthy of our defense
There is now a bill in the NJ State Legislature that will allow
deer to be hunted on Sundays under certain conditions. This is
another in a series of bills promoted by farmers to kill more deer.
The bill in the State Senate is S2114. Its companion in the
State Assembly is A3539.
It is important that people contact their state legislators
and voice their opposition to this bill. To find out who your NJ
state representatives are, call --1-800-792-8630
The following is from the bill:
This bill would allow the hunting of deer on Sundays in any
deer damage management zone established by the Fish and Game Council
as authorized pursuant to the bill, provided that the municipality
within which the deer damage management zone is located has adopted
an ordinance approving the taking of deer on Sundays in that zone.
Where a deer damage management zone lies within more than one municipality,
any such approval by a municipality would apply to only that portion
of the zone lying within the jurisdiction of the municipality.
The bill requires the Fish and Game Council, in consultation
with the Department of Agriculture and after soliciting public
comment and conducting a public hearing, to determine annually
which deer management zones in the State, as also designated by
the council, include a substantial acreage of agricultural or horticultural
crops or seeded pasture fields that are experiencing significant
deer damage. These deer management zones would be designated as
deer damage management zones for the purposes of the bill.
Photo by Anne Muller/Kingston, NY
SICK & TIRED OF THESE DISGUSTING
HAVE A HUNTING PROTEST!
Tired of the NYS DEC profiting from the killing of YOUR wildlife?
Wildlife belongs (by law) to ALL the people of the state, yet the
DEC hands precious animals over to hunters (4% of the population)
and MANAGES "game" ANIMALS into high numbers for hunters
to use as "targets." Why? Because they receive a portion
of excise taxes on firearms and ammo, and bows and arrows, depending
on the number of hunting licenses they sell. They also pay their
own salaries with hunting license fees.
PATROL POSTED PROPERTY KEEP TRESPASSING HUNTERS OFF
ENCOURAGE THOSE WHO ARE "DEER-CAR COLLISIONS" TO
BRING LAWSUITS AGAINST AGENCIES, ENCOURAGE INSURANCE COMPANIES
TO PRESS FOR AN END TO HUNTING PUT AN AD LIKE THIS INTO YOUR LOCAL
PAPER TO FIND YOUR FRIENDS
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL C.A.S.H. - COMMITTEE TO ABOLISH
SPORT HUNTING AND WE'LL PUT YOU IN TOUCH WITH ORGANIZATIONS IN