The growing deer population in Ocean Township is becoming a problem and a special symposium will be held in the near future to see what can be done about it.
“We recognize the problem and are aware of it. There are plenty of deer out there and something needs to be done for the safety (of animals and people),” Mayor Christopher Siciliano said at a recent council meeting.
Ocean Township will host the symposium on how to handle the deer problem in the near future and will invite representatives from adjacent municipalities, such as West Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Deal and possibly Neptune.
Siciliano said the symposium will not be open to the public right now but that future public hearings will probably be held.
Township resident Randall Miller, who lives near Joe Palaia Park, said at the last council meeting that deer are becoming an ever-increasing problem, not only in the park but throughout the township.
“The landscaping is getting eaten alive….and the deer are competing for food. What are we doing about it? A human in a car is their only predator,” he said.
Miller said bow shooting deer should be considered in designated areas and that the meat can be given to local food pantries.
Both Miller and township officials said they know that any decision to kill deer will meet with resistance from some people.
“We consistently get complaints about deer, whether it’s about damage to private property or deer in roadways or yards. There is certainly a general concern about the growing deer population and that something needs to be done about it,” Ocean Township Administrator Andrew Brannen said.
The township conducted a partial survey by helicopter in March, 2012 and the estimate of the deer population then was about 85. But Brannen said that was not a full count because it only did certain sections of the township, like streams, Joe Palaia Park, and the Colonial Terrace golf course.
“There are lots of other areas in the township where deer can be located,” he said.
Brannen said he believes the deer population has “probably increased significantly” since the last survey.
“There is certainly a consensus that it’s a problem that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Ocean Township officials said that electronic signs will be posted warning people about deer, especially since it is now the rutting, or mating, season when there is a dramatic increase of territorial displays among deer.