A bow hunt appears to be the only method that can be used to reduce the large deer population in Ocean Township.
“It looks like a bow hunt may be the only plan approved by the state,” Mayor Christopher Siciliano said last week.
Ocean Township has resubmitted a plan to state officials to use a sterilization program to cull its deer population but such a program has not been approved by the state Division of Fish, Game, and Wildlife in about 15 years.
From all indications, it is expected that the township will be denied the use of non-lethal methods and will have to hold a hunt instead, interim Township Manager Thomas Henshaw said at the last Township Council meeting.
He said he expects to hear from state officials within the next two months.
Henshaw said the state will assist the township in conducting a hunt safely and that it may take place in January when there are fewer people using the park.
It can cost up to $1,000 to physically sterilize a doe but that cost can sometimes be offset through the donation of veterinary services and other volunteers. Another method is chemical fertility programs that inoculate the deer using a dart; however, the process must be repeated every one to two years on the same deer. No cost estimate was available for this method.
The council placed a special nonbinding referendum on the ballot to get a sense of where residents stand on the deer issue. Voters said they would prefer nonlethal methods be used to help control the township’s out-of-control deer population, narrowly defeating a policy to use both nonlethal and lethal methods. Only 309 votes separated the two policies.
Siciliano said that voters did say, by a four-to-one margin, that the township needs to implement some type of deer control.