Borough of ShrewsburyDeer ManagementReportJune 20111

Table of ContentsPage 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10OverviewDeer Related Motor Vehicle AccidentsDeer Related IncidentsHealth Related IssuesAvailable OptionsSurvey ResultsWhat has ChangedConclusionPage 11-39Page 40-72Appendix A: An Evaluation of Deer Management OptionsAppendix B: Millburn Township Deer Management Task ForceReport of August 2006Appendix C: Council meeting minutes October 28, 2010Appendix D: Deer Management SurveyAppendix E: Shrewsbury Police Discharge Permit ProgramAppendix F: Related LinksPage 73-99Page 100-101Page 102-103Page 104-1052

OverviewIn response to complaints from residents, the Recreation Commission, the Board ofHealth, the Environmental Commission, the Shade Tree Commission the Department ofPublic Works and the Police Department we began to evaluate the deer problem. Thesecomplaints included damage to landscaping and property, deer feces on yards and on ourparks, concerns about tick borne diseases such as Lyme disease, the effects of overbrowsing on our natural areas and wildlife and the safety issues related to anoverpopulation of deer.Contact was made with the NJ Div of Fish and Wildlife and we were referred to adocument titled “An Evaluation of Deer Management Options’ which was developed bythe New England Chapter of The Wildlife Society and the Northeast Deer TechnicalCommittee. This committee consisted of wildlife biologists from the northeastern UnitedStates and Eastern Canada. (Appendix A) mgt options.pdfIn the beginning of this process there was one question that needed to be answered. Dowe have a problem with an overpopulation of deer? When we considered overpopulationwe need looked at the Biological Carrying Capacity (the number of deer a given parcelcan support in good physical condition over an extended period of time) and the CulturalCarrying Capacity (the maximum number of deer that can co-exist compatibly with thelocal human population). Certainly the latter can be much lower. Based on the types andnumber of complaints we focused our attention on the cultural carrying capacity. Toaddress whether we had exceeded this, we started by looking at the complaints andconcerns received and the statistics maintained within the police department.3

Deer Relater Motor Vehicle AccidentsSince June of 2006, to present, the Shrewsbury Police Department responds to an averageof 18 deer related motor vehicle accidents per year, where an accident report was filed.Another major concern is the increased danger to our first responders. Our Police, Fireand First aid personnel are called upon to respond to emergency calls on a regular basis.The inherent dangers of emergency response are clearly increased by an overpopulationof deer. Shrewsbury has four major roads, all of which are used by our first respondersalong with many others to access area hospitals and medivac sites.On the map below, each dot represents reported car v. deer accidents from July 1, 2006October 2010 in the Borough. We know from the number of deer the police departmentremove from the roadway these statistics are low as many accidents go unreported.Additional deer warning signs have been placed on Hwy 35 and Sycamore Ave. wherethe concentration of accidents has occurred. We have also updated our web site withinformation to raise the public awareness in these areas.4

Deer Related IncidentsShrewsbury Police Department also responds to an average of 37 deer related calls peryear. Calls range from capturing newly born fawns whose mothers have been killed inaccidents, euthanizing critically injured deer, chasing deer from the road and manyothers. The below map represents both deer related incidents and motor vehicleaccidents.5

Health Related IssuesAnother area of concern was health related issues. Though not the only disease carriedby the ticks, Lyme disease is the most prevalent. In addition the Evaluation of DeerManagement Options ( mgt options.pdf) wereviewed the Millburn Township Deer Management Task Force Report of August er-Task-Force (Appendix B)In this report they note several studies that identify the relationship between the whitetailed deer and Lyme disease. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, thewhite tailed deer is instrumental in the spread of Lyme disease. A single deer can hostenough adult ticks to produce 1.5 to 3 million eggs and larvae the following spring. Thedisease is transmitted through the bite of the nymphal stage of the deer tick, whoseearliest host is a small animal such as a mouse, chipmunk, vole or shrew. White taileddeer pick up the adult ticks from these animals and become the chief carrier into ourcommunity. We can see how instrumental deer are in the spread of Lyme disease whenwe look at Mohegan Island, a small 586 acre island off the coast of Maine. After 13% ofthe residents had contracted Lyme disease the decision was made to rid the island of deer.Since the deer were removed, Maine medical researchers have monitored human healthand tick incidence on the Island. After a lag of two to three years, the tick population hascrashed and there have been no new human cases of Lyme disease on the island.Another study conducted in Mumford Cove Connecticut shows that incidence of Lymedisease mirrors the population of White Tailed deer. In 1988, with 100 deer per squaremile, there were nearly 30 new Lyme disease cases per 100 homes. When the deer werereduced through hunting to 10 per square mile, new cases of Lyme disease fell to 3 per100 homesCombining these statistics with the number and type of complaints received by theBorough we concluded that we had exceeded the cultural carrying capacity of our townand we began to explore our options.6

Available OptionsWe again reviewed the information provided by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.(Appendix A) mgt options.pdf In addition todiscussing the problems associated with an overpopulation of deer, this 28 pagedocument outlines the options available to manage the deer herd for towns such as ours.At council meetings on March 1 and April 9 of 2010 these options were discussed andour residents in attendance spoke out about their opinion on the issue. We looked at eachwith three things in mind, the safety of our community, the effectiveness of the programand the costs involved. As we considered our options we found that most were eitherimpractical, cost prohibitive or had been deemed in effective, and we began to explorethe idea of the use of regulated hunting. Many towns in our area do not restrict bowhunting any further than what is allowed by Fish and Wildlife regulations.On pages 22 and 23 of the Evaluation of Deer Management Options it is noted that“wildlife management agencies recognize deer hunting as the most effective, practicaland flexible method available for regional deer population management, and thereforerely on it as their primary management tool.” It goes on to state that “one-hundred yearsof research and management experience throughout the United States and Eastern Canadahas shown regulated hunting to be an ecologically sound, socially beneficial, and fiscallyresponsible method of managing deer populations.”The Police Department was tasked with developing a program to reduce the number ofdeer, safely with the least affect on the community through the use of a regulatedhunting. We began by revisiting the statistics, the complaints filed, and the input fromour residents. We reviewed the Borough Ordinances relating to weapons discharge, metwith the Police Committee, Borough Attorney and contacted several other Municipalitieswho already use controlled access hunting as a means to reduce their deer complaints.The proposed plan was developed with one goal in mind. Reduce the number of deerrelated motor vehicle accidents, deer related incidents and complaints by our residentsthrough the reduction of the deer herd in a safe, effective, fiscally responsible mannerwith the least impact on the community.The proposed plan was developed in an effort to give our residents the ability to allowbow hunting on their property with some rules to address some of the concerns raised. Itincluded an application process, a review and approval process and a mandatory survey,which would allow us to review the results and evaluate the outcome. After discussingour proposed plan with the Division of Fish and Wildlife we found that the rules we weretrying to impose on those hunting could not be used for hunting on private property.7

Resident SurveyAt this point the decision was made to seek input from a larger portion of our community.A survey was developed and was mailed to the our residences and the information aboutthe program was placed on the borough web site for review. The below represents theresults of that study.Survey Results1499 surveys sent242 returned 16%1. Do you believe that the deer population should be controlled in the Borough ofShrewsbury through culling?Yes 1742.No 5924.38% Blank 93.72%Have you had the time to review all the information we have provided on thedeer issue in ourborough?Yes 2123.71.90%95.93%No 52.26%Blank 4 1.81%Are you aware of the Borough of Shrewsbury Deer Management Program?Yes 18081.45%No 33 14.93%Blank 8 3.62%4. In your neighborhood do you think there are:(1) Too many 154 69.68% (2) About right 44 19.91% (3) Not enough 8 3.62% (3)No opinion 4 1.81% 5 blank 2.62%5. Have you noticed an increase in the deer population in your neighborhood?Yes 15067.87%No 66 29.86% No opinion 41.81%Blank 2 .90%6. Do you believe the deer population in the Borough of Shrewsbury should bereduced?Yes 16072.39%No 43 19.46%No opinion 8 3.62% Blank 104.52%7. Have you or any member of your immediate family been involved in acar/bicycle/pedestrian accident with a deer in the Borough of Shrewsbury?Yes 21 9.50%No 19688.69% Blank 41.81%8. Was that accident reported to the police?Yes 11 4.98%No 4922.17%Blank 16172.85%9. In the last 5 years, please estimate the amount of deer damage to the landscapevegetation in your yard.Yes 145 65.61%10.Total Damages 151,035.00Have you or anyone in your immediate family, or pet contracted Lyme diseasewithin the last 5 years?Yes 32 14.48%No 18382.81% Blank 682.71%

What has ChangedSeveral things have changed since we started this process;The New Jersey State Legislature has reduced the safety zone for bow hunting from 450feet to 150 feet from a building. With written permission in possession, Bowhunters mayhunt within the 150-foot safety zone if they hunt from an elevated position.The survey results were received and every survey returned was reviewed including thenumerous additional comments and suggestions.Holmdel Twp. conducted a controlled- access hunt last year on Borough property andannounced recently that their program was unsuccessful and they are again exploringother options.With these changes in mind we revisited our plan to make every effort to have asuccessful program. We want to get it right. On October 20, 2010 I met withConservation Officers Shannon Martiak and Greg Szulecki, Senior Wildlife BiologistCindy Kuenstner with the Office of Information and Education and Senior WildlifeBiologist Jodi Powers, all of the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife.We reviewed the map of our town to identify the most likely areas for a cull hunt.Though not the only area, the area along our southern border near Parkers Creek seemedthe most promising, the major portion of which is owned by the Borough. We thenfocused on the rules, as many deer reduction efforts fail because of overly restrictiverules. As we reviewed the proposed set of rules our discussion centered on the fact thatmany of our proposed rules were, indeed, overly restrictive and could not be enforced onprivate property, but some could be used on a cull hunt on Borough owned land.At the council meeting on October 28, 2010 the above information was presented toCouncil and those present. Representatives from New Jersey Division of Fish andWildlife plus the Police Department were present to answer any questions. (Appendix 010-28-10.pdf . At thatmeeting we asked the council for more time to consider the input of those present at themeeting, and to contact Holmdel to discuss their program.In March of 2011 contact was made with Holmdel Twp. At the present time they have noplans to conduct a managed hunt on the Township owned park. Hunting is allowed inHolmdel Twp. and the hunt that was cancelled had taken place on a park owned by theTownship. They again indicated that the hunt failed due to being overly restrictive. Itshould be noted that the Monmouth County Park System successfully conductedmanaged hunts in 2009-2010 on many of their parks including Holmdel Park.9

In April of this year the wooded area along Parkers creek in the area of Strauss Dr andBlades Run Dr. was checked, prior to the spring growth, to get a better understanding ofthe amount of property that could be used for a managed hunt. It was noted that thoughthere is space for a managed hunt, due to the layout of the property and its relationship tothe residences, the numbers of hunters would be limited.ConclusionAfter a lengthy period of study, discussion and meetings with experts, we find that freeranging white-tailed deer must be controlled for the reasons of health, safety, destructionto the wooded understory and damage to property.Our Goal remains to reduce the number of deer- related motor vehicle accidents, deerrelated incidents, health and damage complaints by our residents through the reduction ofthe deer herd through the use of hunting in a safe, effective, fiscally responsible manner,with the least impact on the community.Municipal Ordinance 948 section 106-2 (d) allows for the discharge of a bow, compoundbow or crossbow in compliance with the Police department’s Discharge Permit program.The recommendation is to authorize the discharge of bow, compound bow or crossbowfor the purpose of taking white-tailed deer on private property in compliance with theNew Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations. As we cannot require a permitrestriction on private property, no permit will be required. We will request and stronglyencourage those participating to complete the Deer Management Survey (Appendix D)which will assist in our future assessment of the program. This recommendation is beingmade to give those residents who are most affected by this issue some control over whatis allowed.Further recommendation would be to table the Managed Hunt on the Borough- ownedland at this time and to continue to monitor the problem and any new solutions as we goforward.10

Appendix AAn Evaluation of Deer Management Options11

APPENDIX AAn Evaluation of DeerManagement OptionsMay 200912

AN EVALUATION of DEER MANAGEMENT OPTIONSAcknowledgmentsThis publication was collectively developed by the New England Chapter of The WildlifeSociety and the Northeast Deer Technical Committee. The Northeast Wildlife AdministratorsAssociation (composed of the Northeastern United States and eastern Canada state andprovincial wildlife agency heads) encouraged, examined and approved this publication.The first edition (1988) of An Evaluation of Deer Management Options was co-authored byMark R. Ellingwood, a Deer Biologist for the Connecticut Department of EnvironmentalProtection, Wildlife Bureau and member of the New England Chapter of The Wildlife Societyand the Northeast Deer Technical Committee; and Suzanne L. Caturano, Public AwarenessBiologist for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Wildlife Bureau and theChairman of the New England Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s Education Committee.Production of the first printing of An Evaluation of Deer Management Options was coordinatedand paid for by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Wildlife Bureau. Thesecond and third printings were paid for by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal AidAdministrative Funds, FY 89 and FY96, respectively.Although numerous professional biologists have critically reviewed drafts, the followingindividuals have made notable contributions to the original document: Dr. James Applegate(Wildlife Dept., Rutgers University); Dr Arnold Boer (New Brunswick Fish and WildlifeBranch); Dr. Robert Brooks (U.S. Forest Service N.E. Exper. Station); James Cardoza (Mass.Div. Fisheries and Wildlife); Dr. Robert Deblinger (The Trustees of Reservations); GeorgetteHealy (Past Assist. to Jour. Wildl. Manage. Editor); Dr. William Healy (U.S. Forest Serv. N.E.Exper. Station); Paul Herig (Conn. Dept. Envir. Protect. Wildlife Bureau); William Hesselton(Fed. Aid, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv.); Jay McAnich (Institute for Ecosystem Studies); RonaldRegan (Vermont Fish and Wildlife Dept.); Dr. Steven Williams (Mass. Div. Fisheries andWildlife); and Scot Williamson (New Hampshire Fish and Game Dept.).This second edition was updated in 2008 by the Northeast Deer Technical Committee toaccommodate advances in technology and methodology; Susan Predl (NJ Div. of Fish &Wildlife), Carole Kandoth (NJ Div. of Fish & Wildlife), and John Buck (VT Fish and WildlifeDept.) editors. The committee thanks Bridget Donaldson (Virginia Transportation ResearchCouncil) for permission to use her data on deer vehicle collisions.The New England Chapter of the Wildlife Society is an association of professional biologistsfrom Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont devoted tostewardship and enlightened appreciation of wildlife and its environments.The Northeast Deer Technical Committee is comprised of professional deer biologistsemployed by their respective northeastern states and eastern Canadian provinces. The Committeeis committed to the study and wise management of the white-tailed deer resource.13

IntroductionThe white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the most abundant and best-known largeherbivore in the United States and eastern Canada. They are found anywhere from wildernessareas to urban parks and neighborhoods. Although whitetails are valued by many segments ofsociety, considerable controversy exists concerning white-tailed deer management. Addressingthe myriad of public values and often arbitrating the public controversies, state and provincialwildlife agencies have statutory responsibility for management of this invaluable resource. Theobjective of this booklet is to explain the rationale behind deer management decisions and todiscuss the utility of various management options.A Brief History of Deer Management in the NortheastDuring colonial times, extensive tracts of mature forest dominated the Northeast. Early recordssuggest white-tailed deer were present in moderate numbers at the time. Deer populations weresmall and scattered by the turn of the 20th century, primarily as a result of habitat loss andunregulated market hunting. In the early 1900s, deer were so scarce in much of the Northeast thatsightings were often reported in local newspapers. Concern for the loss of the species broughtabout laws that regulated the taking of deer. However, habitat protection and management andknowledge of deer biology were not a component of these early efforts until a stable fundingsource was created.Hal Korber, PA Game Commission14

Passage of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (better known as the Pittman-RobertsonProgram) in 1937 marked the beginning of modern-day wildlife management in the UnitedStates. This act earmarked income from an already existing excise tax on sporting arms andammunition for use in wildlife management, restoration, research and land acquisition.Early deer management efforts featured protection from unregulated exploitation. Today, effortsare directed toward the maintenance of deer populations at levels intended to: (1) ensure presentand future well being of the species and its habitat, as well as with other plant and animalcommunities; (2) provide a sustained availability of deer for licensed hunters, wildlifephotographers and wildlife viewers; and (3) allow for compatibility between deer populationsand human land-use practices.Components of Deer HabitatWhite-tailed deer require adequate food, water, cover, and living space in a suitable arrangementto ensure their healthy survival. The white-tailed deer’s feeding behavior is best described as thatof a ‘browser’. Although a lactating doe, or a buck growing new antlers, can consume up to 10pounds of food per day, they won’t do so in one location. Rather, they will slowly walk throughan area and eat a little of one plant and then a little of another as the doe with her offspring andthe buck, usually by himself, cover that habitat. From early spring until the first killing frosts ofautumn, they feed on the variety of plant species that include grasses, herbs, agricultural crops,and ornamental plants. Water requirements are met through drinking from natural sources suchas lakes, ponds, and streams. Water is also obtained through their food that contains a high watercontent. Cover provides shelter from extreme temperatures and precipitation, as well asconcealment from predators.Optimum cover isbest described as amosaic of vegetationtypes that createnumerousinterwoven ‘edges’where theirrespectiveboundaries intersect.VT Fish and Wildlife15

Throughout the northeast examples of good cover are found where forested and suburbanlandscapes are interrupted by powerlines, logging operations, agricultural activities, roadsidemowings, green belts, and community parks. In northern New England and eastern Canada,special wintering habitat, consisting of a mixture of mature conifers, southern aspects, anddispersed deciduous openings, allows deer to reduce their energy loss and enhances survival overthe long winter period. Wintering areas are also important because of the fidelity with whichdeer use them from year to year and generation to generation and is underscored by the fact thatit rarely makes up more than 15% of the land base.VT Fish and Wildlife16

Population Growth and the Concept of Carrying CapacityDeer populations have the potential for rapid growth. This is an evolved response to highmortality often related to predation. Under normal circumstances, does two years old or olderproduce twins annually, while yearling does typically produce single fawns. On excellent range,adult does can produce triplets, yearlings can produce twins and fawns can be bred and give birthduring their first year of life. In the absence of predation or hunting, this kind of reproduction canresult in a deer herd doubling its size in one year. This fact was illustrated on the 1,146 acreGeorge Reserve in southern Michigan where biologists at the University of Michigan have beenstudying the deer population since 1928. The deer herd grew from six deer in 1928 to 162 deerby 1933 (27). In 1975, the George Reserve herd grew from 10 deer to 212 deer in 5 years (28).Hal Korber, PA Game CommissionThere are natural limits to the number of deer that a given parcel of habitat can support. Theselimits are a function of the quality and quantity of deer forage and/or the availability of goodwinter habitat. The number of deer that a given parcel can support in good physical conditionover an extended period of time is referred to as “Biological Carrying Capacity” (BCC). Deerproductivity causes populations to exceed BCC, unless productivity is balanced by mortality.When BCC is exceeded, habitat quality decreases with the loss of native plant species and herdphysical condition declines. Biologists use herd health indices and population density indices toassess the status of a herd relative to BCC.17

The importance of compatibility between land use practices and deer population size in urban,suburban, forested, and agricultural areas justifies consideration of another aspect of carryingcapacity. “Cultural Carrying Capacity” (CCC) can be defined as the maximum number of deerthat can coexist compatibly with local human populations (13). Cultural carrying capacity is afunction of the sensitivity of local human populations to the presence of deer. CCC can beconsiderably lower than BCC.Hal Korber, PA Game CommissionThe sensitivity of the human population to deer is dependent on local land use practices, localdeer density and the attitudes and priorities of local human populations. Excessive deer/vehiclecollisions, agricultural damage and homeowner/gardener complaints all suggest that CCC hasbeen exceeded. It is important to note that even low deer densities can exceed CCC; a single deerresiding in an airport-landing zone is too many deer. As development continues in many areas ofNorth America, the importance of CCC as a management consideration increases.Consequences of Deer OverpopulationAs previously indicated, deer populations have the ability to grow beyond BCC. When BCC isexceeded, competition for limited food resources results in overbrowsing (7,8). Severeoverbrowsing alters plant species composition, distribution, and abundance, and reducesunderstory structural diversity (due to the inability of seedlings to grow beyond the reach ofdeer). These changes have a negative impact on other wildlife species, which also depend onhealthy vegetative systems for food and cover. In time, overbrowsing results in reduced habitatquality and a long-term reduction in BCC. Coincident with overbrowsing is the decline in herdhealth. This decline is manifested in decreased body weights, lowered reproductive rates,lowered winter survival, increased parasitism, and increased disease prevalence (14). In theabsence of a marked herd reduction, neither herd health nor habitat quality will improve, as each18

constrains the other. Such circumstances enhance the likelihood of mortalities due to disease andstarvation.Deer overabundance leads to excessive damageto commercial forests, agricultural crops,nursery stock, and landscape plantings (24,25) aswell as a high frequency of deer/vehiclecollisions. In addition, some studies suggest thata correlation exists between high deer densitiesand the incidence of Lyme disease(, a tickborn disease that, if left untreated, can affect thejoints, heart, and nervous system of humans (1).John Buck VT F&WA Justification for Deer Population ManagementThe potential for deer populations to exceed carrying capacity, to impinge on the well-being ofother plant and animal species, and to conflict with land-use practices as well as human safetyand health necessitates efficient and effective herd management. Financial and logisticalconstraints require that State and Provincial deer management be practical and fiscallyresponsible.19

DEER MANAGEMENT OPTIONSOption 1ALLOW NATURE TO TAKE ITS COURSEIn the absence of active management, deer herds grow until they reach the upper limit at whichthey can be sustained by local habitat. Herds at the “upper density limit” consist of deer inrelatively poor health (8). These high-density herds are prone to cyclic population fluctuations andcatastrophic losses (27). Such herds would be incompatible with local human interests and landuse practices. Disease and starvation problems in the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge,New Jersey (40); damage to ornamentals on Block Island, Rhode Island; vegetation destruction atCrane Beach, Massachusetts; deer-vehicle collisions in Princeton, New Jersey (21); increasedabundance of Black-legged, or “Deer” Ticks (Ixodes scapularis)(9) that spread Lyme disease;Ehrlichiosis (a newly recognized bacterial disease that is spread by infected ticks); andBabesiosis (a rare parasitic disease that is transmitted to people by infected ticks) are but a fewexamples of the negative impacts of a “hands off” deer management policy. Forest regenerationdifficulties on Connecticut’s Yale Forest are another counter-productive effect that a “hands-off”policy has on industrial forest and private woodlot management. Allowing nature to take itscourse will result in a significant negative impact on native plant and animal species that readilyleads to the loss of these species. In addition, the local deer herd suffers from impaired condition(41).Deer have evolved under intense predation and hunting pressure. In pre-colonial times manyNative American tribes hunted deer year-round and depended on deer as their primary foodsource (26).Mountain lions, wolves, bobcats, and bears all utilized the pre-colonial deer resource. The highreproductive capability of present day herds likely reflects an adaptation to intense predation andhunting in the past. As a consequence, it would be inaccurate to describe a deer herd in today’senvironment, with few or any predators and no hunters, as “natural”.In almost all cases, allowing nature to take its course through deforestation and starvation willnot achieve modern deer management goals to ensure sustainable deer populations, sustainablehabitats, and compatibility with human land-use practices and values. There are significant costsassociated with the “hands off” approach to deer management including local herd decimationand habitat degradation for deer, people, and other wildlife; and a significant increase in deervehicle collisions and agricultural damage.It is important to note that humans have had a dramatic impact on the ecology of North America.Among other things, they have altered landscapes, changed and manipulated plant communities,displaced large predators, eliminated a variety of native species, and introduced numerousexotics. Natural systems and regulatory processes have changed as a result of these impacts.Adopting a “hands off” policy will not restore North American ecosystems to a pristine state.20


Page 100-101 Appendix D: Deer Management Survey Page 102-103 Appendix E: Shrewsbury Police Discharge Permit Program Page 104-105 Appendix F : . accidents, euthanizing critically injured deer, chasing deer from the road and many others. The below map represents both deer related incidents