Officials preparing referendum question on controlling deer population
Bow hunting or sterilization are two primary options being considered in Ocean Township to deal with the township’s run-away deer population and the question is scheduled to be decided by voters in November.
The large deer population is an ongoing problem in Ocean Township and surrounding communities.
So, township officials formed a special three-member subcommittee to look into the problem and ways to solve it.
“We put all options on the table,” said Councilman Robert Acerra, who heads the special committee
Acerra said proposals to cull the deer population are down to basically two proposals: allowing bow hunting or using sterilization.
“I am not leaning any one particular way or another but sterilization is very expensive and the outcome can be questionable,” he said.
Forms were recently submitted by township residents to gather information about the deer problem. The form asked where a respondent lives and for how long. It also requests information on Lyme disease, vehicular collisions with deer, if gardens and landscaping are being damaged, how they are personally dealing with the deer problem, and requests estimated costs for landscape or garden damage. It also asked if costs were incurred to install fencing, gates, etc. because of deer.
Mayor Christopher Siciliano said that about 900 residents responded to the survey.
“The crux of the survey showed that residents do recognize we have a deer problem,” he said.
He said the Township Council is preparing a special referendum to let voters decide what method to use in culling the deer population. The referendum will appear on the November election ballot.
About 32 to 35 deer are hit by vehicles every year in Ocean Township.
The Monmouth County Parks System recognizes hunting as a means to control deer population but efforts are also being made to explore non-lethal options for population control, including deer contraception
Monmouth County leads the state in deer carcass removal in 2017, with 999 dead deer found lying by the side of the road, with October and November being the worst months. In total, state Department of Transportation crews removed 6,525 deer carcasses statewide in 2016, an increase of 400 more than they removed in 2015.
During the 2015-2016 hunting season, 41,439 white-tailed deer were harvested in New Jersey.