Watchung Deer Hunt May be Thwarted
Sent to the Courier News of NJ 10/30/03
It is encouraging to read that the Watchung deer hunt may
be thwarted by those who will not allow hunting on their property.
Preventing a hunt is most certainly in the best interests of the people of
Watchung as well as the deer.
Hunting in the area has been a dismal failure. In 1994, an
infra-red air count of deer showed less than one hundred deer living in the
Watchung Reservation the hunts began. After nine years of hunting, more than
one thousand deer were killed in the reservation. This number is staggering,
considering that before the hunting began there were only 139 deer on the
4,600 acres of land including and surrounding the reservation.
How is this possible? The Union County Parks Department
issued a report titled "Deer Management Program for Watchung Reservation."
In it, the parks department reported evidence that deer populations increase
once exposed to hunting pressure. After each female deer was killed, her
womb was cut open and the still alive fetuses were removed and killed. All
the pregnant females killed during the first year of the hunt had a single
fetus living inside them. After the second year of the hunt, fifty-seven
percent of the females cut open were found to be carrying twins. After the
third year of the hunt, sixty percent of the pregnant females killed were
carrying twins, and eight percent were carrying triplets. What the Parks
Department report clearly indicates is that once a deer herd is hunted, the
herd will grow and an unnaturally fast pace.
If the Watchung Environmental commission wants to solve
the problems associated with deer, hunting is the very worst thing that can
be implemented. As we have seen with the example of Watchung Reservation,
hunting will only serve to increase the deer herd. While this may be good
for the coffers of Fish and Wildlife since they will undoubtedly welcome the
opportunity to sell additional hunting licenses, it will not be good for the
residents of Watchung who are having problems managing their deer problems.
Mr. Chris Ruske and his father Rodger, co-owners of
Cumberland Nurseries in South Jersey, wisely invested their own money in a
quality fence to keep deer off their nursery property. This fencing has been
effective in keeping the deer away from areas where they are unwanted.
Anyone concerned with deer damage to their property would
be wise to follow the example set by the Ruske’s and not follow the advice
of the Watchung Environmental Commission. Their “violence is the only
answer” solution has, for more than one hundred years, been catastrophic to
the deer herd in the state. Clearly, those who believe that hunting controls
deer populations are misinformed. For more information on the intentional
increase of wild animal populations by state game agencies to provide
hunters with living targets, please visit the website of The Committee to
Abolish Sport Hunting at
call (845) 256-1400.
Joe Miele, Vice President
New Jersey Field Office
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
PO Box 334
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662