Essex County in New jersey has once again resorted to killing deer in a hunt from Feb. 9 - 25, 2010. This time, contracted sharpshooters work in a kill zone that has expanded to Eagle Rock and Hilltop Reservations. With so many non-lethal options, violence is never an acceptable solution.
-- For example, fertility control has produced successful results with overhead comparable to hiring sharpshooters. Some communities combine translocation andimmunocontraception to reduce birth rates in deer.
-- Use of Strieter lights curtails deer-vehicle collisions. Strieter representatives even meet with community officials and lights are eligible for reimbursement under the federal highway safety program.
-- The 4-Poster Lyme treatment system can handle ticks carrying Lyme disease. However, most studies show that deer, live or dead, do not affect the incidence of Lyme ticks.
-- Fencing systems and landscapes modified with native repellent plants can diminish landing spots for deer and subdue browsing on residential or commercial grounds. Low-cost audio/visual scare devices used with repellents and fencing, can also dissuade deer.
Studies show hunted deer populations can actually double or triple their birth rate. Survivors rebound due to an abundance of food and space. With fewer territorial males, mating becomes the herd's primary focus. Researchers at the Watchung Reservation in Union County, NJ, found 57% of killed pregnant deer had twins in their wombs after two years of hunting. At three years, 60% had twins and 8% had triplets.
Please consider community planning with deer in mind. A blend of nonviolent techniques, on a site-specific basis, can effectively manage deer. There are always alternatives to killing.