Ocean Considers Sterilization Program for Deer Population


Ocean Township will submit 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.

“I doubt they will (approve it) in the future. But we will give it the benefit of the doubt and submit a plan and just see what they say,” Mayor Christopher Siciliano said.

In response to an earlier state presentation that did not encourage sterilization, Doris Lin, a director with the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, gave an alternative presentation last week promoting the need to protect deer and cull herds through sterilization. Hunting, with bow or gun, is the alternative solution.

“We suggest your remove their ovaries and use surgical sterilization,” she said.

She said it can cost up to $1,000 to 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. The process; however, must be repeated every one to two years on the same deer. No cost estimate was given for this method.

“The state has not approved a sterilization method in the last 15 years- they say try hunting first. But removing the ovaries is the best option, if approved and funded,” Lin said.

Siciliano said any costs associated with sterilization would need to come from donations and other nonpublic-funding sources.

Township officials said they realize they need to make a decision as to how to proceed soon and that the matter will be discussed at an upcoming workshop meeting.

“We’ve got to do something,” Siciliano said.

The council placed special nonbinding referendums on last November’s 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 a policy to use only nonlethal methods from the other proposal to use a combination of lethal and nonlethal methods.

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