by New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance
There are many different species of animals that are
hunted, but the most well-known and controversial is the white-tailed
There are many misconceptions and untruths surrounding this issue. The
purpose of this brochure is to answer many of the important questions
regarding deer and hunting in New Jersey.
Most of the information cited here comes directly from the New Jersey
Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, (Fish and Game). For over 100 years,
Fish and Game have had complete authority over our wildlife. Along with
the Fish and Game council, they create the hunting seasons, and decide how
many animals should be killed. While Fish and Game continues to publicly
push hunting as an effective tool in reducing deer populations, a detailed
examination of their own records and reports confirms that not only does
hunting not reduce deer populations, it, in fact, increases them. To
understand this paradox, one must first realize their motives. Fish and
Game, and the Fish and Game council are controlled and run by hunters. The
salaries of Fish and Game employees are paid for by the sale of hunting
licenses. Fish and Game must sell over $9,000,000 worth of hunting
licenses just to cover their salaries and benefits. It is for this reason
that they must ensure that there is an abundant supply of animals for
hunters to kill.
This is the tragedy of it all, the very organization that should be
protecting our wildlife makes its money from their slaughter.
Fish and Game clearly stated their purpose and the role or our
wildlife, in their 1990 report titled An Assessment of Deer Hunting in New
"Deer were re-established in New Jersey by
sportsmen-conservationists for the purpose of sport hunting. Since that
'restocking period' the responsible agency (now the Division of Fish,
Game and Wildlife) has been managing the deer resource for this
question Fish and Game's vested interests. In his column, Howard Brant,
the hunting writer for the Star-Ledger newspaper, pointed to the profit
Fish and Game makes on special permit hunts.
"As stated earlier, the deer resource has been managed primarily for
the purpose of sport hunting." (pg.8)
"Therefore, from this corner, we really have to ask one
question: Is the Division of Fish and Game truly interested in managing
our deer herd or merely in the money the permit system generates?
Remember, each permit costs $20, and a bit of simple arithmetic reveals
in 1992-93 some $1.8 million will be funneled into the division's
coffers as a result of this money making scheme." (4/7/92 pg.76)
Deer Biology and the Effect of Deer Hunting
One might question, if
Fish and Game were ardently pushing hunting just to sell licenses,
wouldn't they run out of deer to hunt? This reasoning would make sense, if
what we've been told (that hunting reduces deer populations) were true.
The simple fact is hunting increases deer populations. This information is
common knowledge among the scientific community and within the ranks of
the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife. Fish and Game is in the business
of keeping New Jersey's deer population abundant, and hunting is the means
through which that goal is carried out.
Without hunting, deer populations stabilize themselves based upon the
amount of food and water present, land available, and natural mortalities.
When conditions are bad, deer respond with decreased pregnancies, and
death among the weakest members. Within these conditions, there is no
increase in the size of the population. The herd remains stable and
healthy. This is how nature regulates wild animal populations. However,
when hunting is introduced to a stable deer herd, everything is thrown out
of balance. When a large number of deer is removed from a herd,
competition for food, water, space and breeding opportunities is reduced.
The reaction of the herd, to the sudden kill, is increased breeding. With
plenty of food to go around, more does are likely to get pregnant, and
twin and triplet births often occur. This added nutrition will also allow
new born fawns to gain enough weight by the time they are 6 months old to
become pregnant. Normally, they would wait 2 to 3 years. This new, high
birth rate not only replaces those that were killed, but it adds
significantly to the size of the total population. The natural processes
of deer herds and the disturbance of these processes caused by hunting is
documented in The Natural History of Deer.
"We noted in chapter 5 that most deer populations appear to
respond to increasing density by a reduction in fecundity and an
increase in mortality (particularly the mortality of juveniles
withstanding their first harsh season of shortage: the temperate winter
or the tropical dry season)."
Despite the claim by the New Jersey Division of Fish,
Game and Wildlife, that hunting reduces deer herd populations, statements
acknowledging the contrary are contained within their own report. In An
Assessment of Deer Hunting in New Jersey, detailed examples of deer herds
being dramatically increased due to hunting are documented.
"Ultimately rates of reproduction and rates of mortality or
emigration will reach a balance, so that the net rate of increase within
the population becomes zero and the population numbers stabilize at some
equilibrium level determined by the availability of environmental
resources. Within such populations, exploitation acts to reduce numbers.
In so doing, it brings the population once more below the level at which
it is limited by environmental resources: effectively releasing the
density-dependent brake on population growth. Reproduction increases,
juvenile mortality falls, and the whole population age structure shifts
towards the young animals, which have a faster growth rate and higher
efficiency of food conversion. Productivity of the population rises. "
"This increased productivity of a population under exploitation is
now well documented (e.g. Wact, 1955; Silliman and Gutsell, 1958;
Gulland, 1962; and see also Eltringham 1984) The exploitation, by
reducing density, lessens competition and enhances productivity:
producing the surplus that is then harvested, and producing thus a
sustainable yield. Exploitation is now creaming off interest on the
capital, rather then eroding the capital itself." (Putman, pg.170)
"In our discussions of management, for control or exploitation, we
have repeatedly stressed that most natural populations respond to
reduction in numbers by increased productivity." (Putman, pg.174)
"One of the most dramatic examples of the effect of habitat
improvement or food availability on reproductive capacity occurred in
the Earle Naval Ammunition Depot in Monmouth County. Range conditions
improved in this case by an annual removal of deer by hunting."
This excerpt from Fish and Game's own report invalidates
two of their basic 'public' assertions. First, that hunting reduces deer
populations. Their examples clearly demonstrate the opposite. In fact,
since doe fertility is the true indicator of the population dynamics of a
herd, their report illustrates that doing nothing is actually more
successful in reducing populations than hunting. Second, that killing does
removes them, and their future offspring, thereby reducing the herd.
According to Fish and Game's own findings, after does were killed the
remaining females had increased birthrates that not only replaced the ones
killed, but increased the overall size of the herd.
"Between 1968 and 1973 the reproductive rate almost doubled, an
indication that the herd was in much healthier condition. The estimated
fawn crop in 1969 was 116 fawns produced by 122 females, a reproductive
rate of 0.95 fawns per doe, compared to 1974 when 78 does produced 133
fawns, or 1.70 fawns per doe (Burke et al. 1975). Between 1968 and 1980
the number of corpora lutea (cl) nearly tripled from 0.66 corpora lutea
per doe to 2.00 corpora lutea per doe."
"New York reports similar improvement. In the western area of the
state a 1.60 embryo/doe ratio existed in 1939-43. Following antlerless
seasons, the reproductive rate increased to 1.90 embryos per doe in
1947-49. In areas where no antlerless seasons were held and the
population density remained unchanged, fertility declined." (pg.15)
Another case in point of doe hunting increasing deer populations comes
from an article in the North American Hunter magazine. The author, a
former biologist who worked for the state of Texas, recounts a deer
management program he established that removed 100 does from a 3,000 acre
"After the hunters on the property harvested the recommended
100 does, they figured that would probably be all the does they'd have
to harvest for a long, long time. The following year when we conducted
the deer survey, there were more deer on the property than the year
before. But many of the deer were fawns. After shooting 100 does, the
ranch actually had more fawns than it did the year before. Because of
the significant doe harvest, the fawn survival rate increased from 25
percent (four does to rear one fawn to weaning age) to 120 percent (1.2
fawns per doe)." A corresponding tactic used by the Division
of Fish, Game and Wildlife to maintain an abundance of deer in New Jersey
is habitat manipulation, which creates more food for deer. This process is
described in An Assessment of Deer Hunting in New Jersey.
"Habitat development and maintenance to benefit deer are
conducted on 73 state owned Fish and Wildlife Management Areas totaling
over 192,000 acres. Habitat management is encouraged on other public and
private lands. Limited burning, wood harvest and planting of various
agricultural crops favored by deer can increase the carrying capacity by
increasing the quality and quantity of food available." (pg.10)
Why would the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife actively
increase the carrying capacity for deer while at the same time, advocate
hunting to 'reduce the herd'? Remember, the salaries of Fish and Game
employees are paid by the sale of hunting licenses. Long term reduction of
deer herds is the last thing they want. The cyclical effect of hunting
ensures its existence year after year, thereby securing the salaries of
Fish and Game employees year after year.
In New Jersey, there are several examples of increased deer herds due
to hunting. As stated above, hunting increased the deer at the Earle Naval
Base in Monmouth County, this has also occurred at Monmouth Battlefield
State Park, and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
From 1974-1989, hunting was banned at Monmouth Battlefield State Park.
In late 1989, with the deer population at about 150, Fish and Game pushed
through an annual hunt in order 'to reduce the size of the deer herd'. Six
years later, hunters have killed over 400 deer at Monmouth Battlefield,
and the population has continued to grow. While it took 15 years for the
population to reach 150, in just six years, hunters have killed twice as
many deer than what was originally at the park. It should also be noted
that crop damage, which was one of the reasons the hunt was pushed
through, has increased because of the hunt. At the 1993 Division of Fish
and Game game code hearing, the head of the New Jersey Farm bureau
testified that after four years of hunting at Monmouth Battlefield he is
seeing more deer and more crop damage. He then told the Fish and Game
council that they should be looking for alternatives because hunting
The situation at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is even
worse. Like Monmouth Battlefield, a hunt at Great Swamp was initiated to
'reduce the deer'. That was 20 years ago. Hunters have now killed over
3,000 deer at Great Swamp, and yet, the deer herd is larger than ever.
William Koch, Manager of the Great Swamp Refuge testified before the
Wildlife Advisory Board of the Morris County Park System in May, 1994.
When asked has hunting stimulated or made a healthier population, he
"We have healthier animals, and they have healthier
reproduction." After 20 years, hunting has not accomplished
what it was proposed to do.
Fish and Game has been operating in New Jersey for over a century, and
the deer population has grown from almost zero, at the beginning of that
time, to over 150,000 now. In that time, hunters have killed over 850,000
deer. As long as Fish and Game is allowed to continue selling our deer to
hunters, this cycle will not be broken.
Biological Carrying Capacity versus Cultural Carrying
CapacityBiological Carrying Capacity (BCC) and Cultural Carrying
Capacity (CCC) are two very important terms that are used when dealing
with deer and their habitat. BCC is the number of deer that an area can
hold based on the amount of environmental factors present, such as food,
water and land. CCC, on the other hand, is a fabricated number based upon
no facts, just someone's judgment of what is overpopulation. It is a
popular tool used by wildlife managers to get public support for hunting.
The truth of the matter is that CCC has no bearing on how many deer can
live in an area, and it is therefore not scientifically acceptable to use
it to proclaim deer overpopulation. In fact, deer do not naturally
overpopulate. Their biological reproduction is based on the amount of food
available, and they cannot go beyond the BCC of an area because there will
not be enough nutrition for added births.
Deer and Vehicle Accidents
In New Jersey, 98.7% of our population
does not hunt, yet hunting is encroaching upon our state and county parks
at an alarming rate. Why would the overwhelming majority allow their parks
to be taken over by the 1.3% of the population that hunts? Unfortunately,
the pro-hunting faction spreads misinformation, taking advantage of the
uninformed majority by preying on their fears. Two common arguments
wielded by Fish and Game, hunters, and occasionally county employees, are
deer/car collisions and Lyme Disease. The public has been led to believe
that hunting will eliminate both of these problems. In reality, these
issue are no more than smoke screens, veiling their true intent.
In the debate to introduce hunting to any particular area, high
incidents of deer/car collisions are often cited to scare people. However,
these numbers are manipulated to make the situation seem much worse than
it really is. This is confirmed by what The Director of Fish and Game,
Robert McDowell, stated in a letter sent to a Morris County official, on
"The actual impact of deer-auto collisions has been greatly
exaggerated. Specifically, individuals routinely multiply the estimated
number of deer-vehicle accidents times an average damage estimate. This
approach is invalid, because approximately half of all deer vehicle
collisions do not involve any damage...Deer-vehicle collisions seldom
result in personal injury." Even more inaccurate than the
number of deer/car collisions cited, is the notion that hunting will
reduce the number of accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration,
most deer/car collisions happen during hunting season. It is not difficult
to understand why the hunting in the woods would send deer out onto the
roads, in a panic.
If someone still feels that hunting is the only way to stop deer/car
collisions, ask them a simple question; Why are there still deer/car
collisions after 850,000 dead deer and 100 years of Fish and Game managed
hunting? If hunting was a solution then there would be no deer/car
collisions today. The answer is that hunting does not work.
In regard to helping stop deer/car collisions, there are a few things
that can be done:
- Install reflector devices along roadsides. These devices create a
barrier when light from headlights bounce off them, keeping deer off the
roads. One such device, Swareflex, has been tested for years and has
been proven to reduce deer/car collisions from 60% to 100%.
- Better road lighting is needed. Dark roads are extremely dangerous,
for pedestrians and animals.
- Driver responsibility is extremely important. Speed limits must be
followed, and in areas surrounding parks they need to be lowered.
- The sides of roads should be kept clear of brush. This will keep
deer from feeding near the roads, and also allow drivers better vision.
The Lyme Disease Myth
Although there is overwhelming evidence
proving that deer are not responsible for Lyme Disease (that Fish and Game
is well aware of), it is invariably used as a reason for hunting.
Inaccurate information linking Lyme Disease to deer is fed to the public
to illicit fear within it. At the Aug. 5, 1993 Assembly Environment
Committee, James Blumenstock, Director of New Jersey Consumer Health
Services, spoke about Lyme Disease. The following is a basic summary of
his main points.
There is no significant relationship between deer management,
specifically population control efforts, and the level of deer ticks and
the incidence of Lyme disease for the following reasons:
According to an in depth study done by the federal Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding Lyme Disease, the risk
factors for acquiring Lyme disease include living in rural areas,
participating in brush clearing activities during June through August, and
the presence of a birdfeeder, woods or rock walls on residential property.
Risk factors investigated but not found to be associated with Lyme disease
were ownership of cats, the presence of a garden or wood pile on
residential property, and frequent deer damage to landscaping.
- Nymphs, (a stage of the tick) which are responsible for most of the
cases, get their blood meals on the white footed mouse, NOT the deer.
- Adult ticks will adapt if you reduce or remove deer from the area,
they will seek alternative hosts.
- Environmental/ecological control efforts should be the focus in
reducing tick populations. Control the disease vector, rather than the
At least as far back as 1990, Fish and Game knew that deer do not cause
Lyme Disease, yet to this day, they continue to imply that the two are
linked. In An Assessment of Deer Hunting in New Jersey, the true source of
the disease is clearly stated.
"Although many species of ticks are found in New Jersey,
only the deer tick (Ixodes dammini) and the lone star tick (Amblyomma
americanum) are known to be involved in Lyme disease transmission, with
the Ixodes tick more important. These ticks carry the spirochete which
causes the illness. However, not all ticks are infected. When an
infected tick feeds upon the blood of an animal, the spirochetes are
passed into the bloodstream. The deer don't become clinically ill, and
their blood is a poor source of the spirochete (Telford et al. 1988).
Transmission of the Lyme disease spirochete is via a bite primarily from
larval and adult Ixodes ticks which have ingested the spirochete from
the blood of its primary reservoir, the white footed mouse (Peromyscus
leucopus)." (pg.19) All of this evidence clearly shows that
deer are not responsible for Lyme disease, and that killing them will have
no effect in reducing Lyme disease. The promulgation of this myth is
clearly being used to strike at the fear people have over this issue, and
to get them to accept deer hunting.
Land Conservation and the Non-Hunting Public
One of the great
myths told about land conservation is that hunters buy land with their
hunting license fees. It is a fact, that since 1961, no hunting license
fees have bought any land what so ever.
It was in 1961 that a deal was made that Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
land would be bought through the Green Acres fund, which is a taxpayer
funded bond issue . Green Acres was supposed to be used to save our land
for the benefit of all, but instead WMA's are managed purely for hunter
recreation. These lands are stocked with Pheasants and Quail for hunting,
food is planted for game species, trees are clear cut and the habitat
changed from its original ecosystems to a new layout solely for the
purpose of creating more animals for hunters to kill.
In an article that appeared in the New Jersey Outdoors magazine,
Published by NJ Department Of Environmental Protection, Summer 1991, they
state the fact that "Green Acres Helps Provide Open Spaces for Public
Hunting" on the top of page 23, and then they list over 200,000 acres of
WMA's that has been bought with tax dollars from the 98.7% non-hunting
In addition to buying land for hunters, the Green Acres program has
been used to buy shooting ranges and land that is now used for breeding
animals for hunting purposes.
A tiny percentage of land is bought through the Duck Stamp Program. The
money that is raised through the sale of these stamps is used to buy land.
This is another program that the hunting community claims that it fully
funds. However, in an article that appeared 12-01-91, in the NJ
Star-Ledger, Robert McDowell stated that 75% of the stamps are purchased
by non-hunters for stamp collections. Once again, its the overwhelming
number of non-hunters who are buying land, not hunters.
To prove the point of how no hunting license money goes to buy land,
here is the financial statement from Fish and Games' 1993-94 Annual
Report. It shows how all the hunting license money is spent:
EXPENDITURES NET DISBURSED
Employee Benefits $2,488,889
Materials and Supplies $1,128,184
Rent and Maintenance of Equipment $438,185
Vehicular Maintenance $223,702
Vehicular Equipment $95,495
Other Equipment $112,136
Indirect Costs and Interests $71,027
Publications and Recovery $1,943
There is no money going to purchase land. This chart also shows how
dependent Fish and Game is on the sale of hunting licenses, and why they
push so hard for more hunting. Out of $12,000,000 intake of money, over
$9,000,000 goes just to pay salaries and benefits.
Deer and Native Plant Species
A recent argument being used by
those who want hunting is that deer are eating all the native species of
plants. A plant species that is native is natural to its area, as opposed
to introduced species. In many areas throughout the country, introduced
species of plants are taking over. The pro-hunt faction would like the
public to believe that since deer eat native species, if the deer are
killed the native species will thrive and introduced species will decline.
The problem is much more complex than that. An introduced species may come
to dominate an area for many reasons: faster growth rate than natives,
more resilient to disease, etc.. The removal of deer will not make the
native species any better equipped for competition with the introduced
species. In fact, since deer eat native and non-native species, they can
actually help stop the spread of introduced species. A study in American
Forests confirms this.
"A concerned landowner in northwestern Pennsylvania
contacted us this summer and asked that we visit a large area that had
been cut and fenced two years earlier. The fence had been effective. The
area was lush with tree regeneration, but closer inspection revealed
that without the deer, the area had been converted to pure pin cherry.
An aggressive competitor that few native species can beat. Deer browsing
helps keep its numbers under control." (Nov/Dec. 1993)
symposium held in Morristown in Aug. of 1994, dealing with this issue, it
was stated that even if every deer were killed in our state, it would not
bring back the native species of plants. The only real solution is the
removal of the introduced species.
Hunting and the Wounding and Crippling of Deer
One of the key
issues about hunting that is very rarely publicly talked about from Fish
and Game is the fact that all forms of hunting result in wounded and
crippled animals. Details supporting this can be found in Fish and Game's
"Associated with harvests of big game animals is a loss of
animals which are not recovered by hunters. The words 'crippling' and
'wounding' have often been used in reference to deer which recover or
die and are not retrieved after being shot legally by firearm or bow
hunters....A study conducted by Lohfeld (1979) at Allamuchy State Park
in Warren County in 1975 and 1976 obtained a count of the deer killed,
but not recovered during the hunting season. Nine illegally shot deer
(13% of the total losses during Six -Day Firearm season) were found.
Only deer that were legally shot and then lost were found in the one day
either sex hunts. Losses of mule deer in Utah during a bucks -only hunt
ran as high as 42% while losses in an either sex hunt were 25% (Costly
1948)...Langenau (1986) found that archery deer hunters were estimated
to have retrieved 43% of the deer hit by arrows, while shotgun hunters
retrieved 81% of the deer hit." (An Assessment of Deer Hunting in New
Jersey, p.25) This means that bowhunters wound 57% of the
deer they shoot, and shotgun hunters cripple 19% of the deer they shoot.
To put this into real terms, during the hunts at Great Swamp over 600 deer
were wounded and left to die painful deaths. When you consider the fact
that hunters kill 50,000 deer a year, the amount of wounded animals left
in our woods is staggering This amount of pain and suffering caused by
hunting cannot be overlooked, especially since Fish and Game and most
hunting organizations claim that hunting is "humane". These statistics
alone negate any such claim that hunting is anything but extremely cruel
While all hunting is brutal and cripples and kills
animals, there is no form of hunting more inaccurate and vicious than bow
hunting. The following excerpt is from a report on bowhunting wounding
rates done by Glenn A. Boydston and Horace G. Gore, both of the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department:
"Under most hunting conditions, it is generally difficult to
shoot a razor-sharp broadhead arrow into a vital area-- an absolute must
for bow hunting proficiency. Data from Texas wildlife management areas
provide evidence that, on average, 21 shots are made for every deer
killed, or about 10 shots per deer hit. Shot placement is, for all
practical purposes, random."
data regarding the 50% wounding rate is enormous. In addition to the
reports cited by New Jersey Fish and Game, and the Texas Wildlife
department, there are 13 additional studies, mostly done by Fish and Game
agencies across the country that prove the fact that for every deer a
bowhunter kills, another is wounded and left in the woods. The following
are the names and results of these studies:
"Many bowhunters are neophytes to the sport and lack experience and
knowledge in stalking, shooting, and tracking. However, there is
evidence to indicate that experienced bowhunters wound more deer than
neophytes because they get more shots and therefore have opportunity to
"Not all deer die. Undoubtedly, many recover. However, almost all
abdominally-shot deer die a slow death due to peritonitis. And the
concept of nonlethal, 'superficial' hits, and subsequent survivability,
has never been quantified."
"In essence for every deer legally bagged with bow and arrow, at
least one more is hit and not retrieved."
Cada, J.D. 1988, "Preliminary Archery Survey Report", Montana
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Helena Montana. 7pp., 51%
Downing, R.L. 1971, "Comparison of Crippling Losses of White Tailed
Deer Caused by Archery, Buckshot and Shotgun Slugs" , Proceedings of the
Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 25: 77-82, 50%
Hansen, L.P. and Olson, G.S. 1989, "Survey of Archery Hunters, 1987",
Missouri Department of Conservation. Columbia, Missouri. 17pp., 52%
Anonymous. 1970 , "Chincoteague Narrative Report, 1965-1970", Refuge
Managers United States Government. memorandum to Regional Director, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. Atlanta, Georgia. 3pp., 52% wounded.
Croft, R.L. 1963, "A Survey of Georgia Bowhunters", Proceedings of the
Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 25:77-82, 44%
Moen, A.N. 1989, "Crippling Losses", Deer and Deer Hunting 12 (6) :
64-70, 68% wounded.
Hofacker, A. 1986, "On the Trail of Wounded Deer: The Philosophy of
Waiting", Deer and Deer Hunting 10 (2) :65-85, 104, 56% wounded.
Garland, L.E. 1972, "Bowhunting for Deer in Vermont: Some
Characteristics of the Hunters, the Hunt, and the Harvest", Vermont Fish
and Game Department. Waterbury, Vermont. 19pp., 63% wounded.
Jackson, R.M. and Norton, R. 1982, "Wisconsin Bowhunter Study",
University of Wisconsin. Lacrosse, Wisconsin. 36pp., 44% wounded.
Aho, R.W. 1984, "Deer Hunting Retrieval Rates", Michigan
Pittman-Robertson Report. Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Lansing Michigan. 11pp., 58% wounded.
Langenau, Jr. E.E and Aho, R.W. 1983, "Relative Impact of Firearms and
Archery on Deer Populations", Proceedings of the Midwest Bowhunting
Conference. Wisconsin Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Edited by Beattie,
K.H. and Moss, B.A. pp.97-121, 55% wounded.
Langenau, Jr., E.E. 1986, "Factor Associated with Hunter Retrieval of
Deer Hit by Arrows and Shotgun Slugs", Leisure Sciences 8 (4) : 417-438, 61% wounded.
McPhilips, K.B., Linder, R.L. and Wentz W.A. 1985, "Nonreporting,
Success, and Wounding by South Dakota Deer Bowhunters--1981", Wildlife
Society Bulletin 13 (4) : 395-398, 48% wounded.
The word Sharpshooting is a misnomer. In actuality,
there is no sharpshooting involved, instead, it is the baiting and killing
of deer. In early 1995, the Union County Freeholders, along with their
Parks department carried out New Jersey's first suburban Sharpshooting
The public was told that Sharpshooters, who were off duty police
officers, would be used because they were more responsible than average
hunters. This was an important factor, because many people were
uncomfortable with the sharpshooting concept, and the thought of the
police being more responsible than average hunters helped the County
officials push through the 'bait and kill' operation. However, what the
general public did not hear was what was said at the 1-18-95 meeting of
the Fish and Game council. Charles Sigmund, Director of the Division of
Parks and Recreation for Union County, testified that while the public
perceives them (the police officers) to be more responsible, he does not
necessarily support that.
Hundreds of pounds of food were put out for the tame deer of the
Watchung Reservation. Every morning, the 'sharpshooters' killed deer
feeding at these sites. After the first 30 deer were killed, Union County
official Dan Bernier admitted that 3 deer were shot, but escaped into the
woods, wounded. The 'sharpshooters' were shooting tame deer over bait
sites, and still wounded 10% of the animals. Since hundreds of pounds of
food was now available for the survivors, this action surely wound up
creating more deer than what would have occurred without the sharpshooting.
Sharpshooting, like all other forms of hunting, is cruel,
inaccurate, and only leads to increases in the deer populations that it
supposedly seeks to reduce.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the sharpshooting 'alternative to
hunting' is that it is being supported as being 'humane' by certain animal
welfare groups. NJARA is strongly against sharpshooting. As the disaster
at the Watchung Reservation illustrated, it is extremely cruel and
Non-Lethal Alternatives to Hunting
Trap and transfer. In
parks and reservations, corrals can be set up to lure deer safely onto
trucks and then be transported to other areas. Naturally, we would not let
them be taken to areas where they would be killed. Trap and transfer is
extremely safe, and has been used successfully in New Jersey to move
hundreds of deer. The corral system can also be used in conjunction with
other forms of reproduction control.
Surgical sterilization. Robert Roughton, of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, wrote an article in the Journal of Wildlife Management
that discussed this issue:
"Where free-ranging ungulates can be tranquilized
efficiently in groups (Murry 1965) or trapped, either individually or in
groups, permanent or semi-permanent sterilization may be at least
practical overall. Greer et al. (1968) demonstrated that ovariectomies
can be performed rapidly and safely on wild elk (Cervus canadensis) and
suggested that under certain circumstances, such surgery may be a useful
management tool." Birth Control. Birth control for
deer is now a reality. Studies using birth control in New Jersey should
begin sometime later this year. Right now it is available in a 2 shot dose
that is delivered through a dart gun. According to Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick,
the scientist working on the birth control, or 'Immunocontraceptive," a
one shot dart should be ready by early next year. Sadly, Fish and Game has
not been very cooperative in allowing birth control to be used.
There are several combinations of non-lethal methods that can be tried.
Unfortunately, Fish and Game controls what happens to our wildlife, and
they are not willing to use alternatives to hunting. As you can see from
the following chart containing figures for 1993-1994, there are over
1,000,000 animals killed by hunting in our state every year. Until the
Fish and Game council and the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife are
dramatically changed, our wildlife populations will continue to be
slaughtered for recreation and profit.
Ruffed Grouse 10,060
Red Fox 1,495
Grey Fox 480
Corpora lutea: The solid bodies formed in the empty
follicles created when the egg ruptures toward the end of heat or estrus.
The corpora lutea secrete hormones that help follicle development and
increase fertility. The large increase in the rate of Corpora Lutea shows
that deer secrete more hormones after they are hunted. This release of
hormones causes more eggs to be released, which means you now have twin
and triplet births.
Brant, Howard. "Deer Harvests May be Declining but not
Number of Permits." The Star-Ledger, 7 April, 1992
Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife. An Assessment of Deer Hunting in
New Jersey. 1990
Putman, Rory. The Natural History of Deer. Ithaca, N.Y. Comstock Pub.
Roughton, Robert "Effects of Oral Melengestrol Acetate On Reproduction
in Captive White-Tailed Deer." Journal of Wildlife Management, 1979
Weishuhn, Larry. "Dealing With Does." North American Hunter, Oct. 1995
"Whitetails are Changing our Woodlands." American Forests, Nov/Dec.
NEW JERSEY ANIMAL RIGHTS ALLIANCE
P.O. Box 174