Fifty deer were killed during the recent hunting season, but borough council members are concerned that that is not enough to keep the deer population down in Watchung.
That number may prompt the borough to consider expanding the hunt to include crossbows, councilman Tom Franklin said at Thursday’s borough council meeting.
Sherwood Drive resident Lynda Goldschein asked if the borough was considering bow hunting.
“The 50 that were killed will not keep the population stable,” Goldschein said. “We have to explore some other options.”
Including crossbows in the hunt will increase the number of sites where hunting is allowed, Franklin said. Currently, bow hunting is allowed 150 feet from a residence, while hunting with guns must be done at least 400 feet from a residence.
Of the 50 deer that were killed at seven sites in the borough, 38 were does.
“That’s what counts,” Franklin said.
Killing does is the primary way to control the population, Franklin said. Through this year's hunt, 38 fetuses were killed, he said—some had twins and one doe had triplets.
When the borough had its first deer hunt, professional hunters were hired. But now, Franklin said, there are no more professionals available. Instead, the borough relies on sportsmen and clubs like the Warren Blue Ridge Sportsmen, he said.
Two of the sites in the hunt did not produce the expected results in the hunt, Franklin said, because they are being used as dumping grounds for debris from Superstorm Sandy and the human activity keeps the deer away.