SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Deer wandering yards and crossing roads throughout the borough show the extent of one New Jersey community’s problem: A deer population grown too large, posing a risk to residents by carrying Lyme disease, destroying local vegetation and crossing driving routes without warning.
“Sometimes they’re, around but the real problem would be at night when they’re running in the middle of the road,” said local resident Austin Tobler.
“It’s not so much a vegetation problem,” said Stacy Henson. “It’s more a danger. The deer are a population that likes to go across our roads, and that’s a major problem for us.”
Tonight they’ll vote on a resolution to establish a weapons discharge program that would allow local residents to hunt the deer in an effort to reduce their population, reports CBS2’s Clark Fouraker.
The decision comes after the town had proposed a non-lethal approach to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The state declined the proposal, saying they didn’t think it would be effective.
“I don’t necessarily know if extending the hunting season would necessarily help,” said resident Eric Shinn.
Mayor Albert Kurpis says a decision about what to do with the deer has become over-politicised. He denied multiple requests for an interview, saying he’d only talk about the resolution after the vote.
Police in Saddle River say the number of accidents between deer and drivers has gone down, but so far this year, there have already been eight collisions – a rate about the same as last year.
Steven Otinez is a landscaper in the area and says he often sees the deer in the early morning or at dusk.
“There is a lot around here,” he said. “The vegetation around here is really good for the deer.”
“I think a hunting season could be a solution to the problem, but I just wonder if there aren’t other more humane solutions,” said Jessica Marshall.
Some residents are expected to push back against the plan at tonight’s meeting, calling the plan to cull the population inhumane.
Wildlife encroaching on human homes became an issue last year when a Saddle River resident captured video in his backyard of a pack of seven coyotes. One is seen eating a smaller animal while others rested, then becoming more aggressive over the kill.