Saddle River News

Saddle River Council Tables Lethal Hunt For Deer

Saddle River Deer Problem

Borough Council Plans on Drafting New Deer Hunting Proposal

Mayor Kurpis and the Borough Council planned to issue a resolution to hunt and kill deer and coyotes in town but tabled the decision based on legal advice from town counsel.

Let by Councilman Paul Schulstad who drafted a resolution to hunt the deer to cull the on-going deer population problem. But based on legal advice by the borough attorney Russ Huntington, the resolution was tabled.

Huntington recommended to table the resolution and rewrite it since the Mayor does not have expertise in the field of deer hunting and may be liable (as the Borough Council) with the current language within the resolution drafted by Schulstad.

In addition just last week the town submitted to the NJ’s Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Commission their non-lethal plan that was drafted by non-lethal approach proponent and local vet Dean Cerf.  His plan involves the “live capturing” and then on-site sterilizing of female deer. Opponents like Schulstad believe this solution will not adequately stem the deer overpopulation problem in town.

Additionally, the state has never approved a plan without a lethal component within the overall plan. State officials have vocally stated they consider the overpopulation of deer in town as an “out of control” problem.

Ongoing Deer Crisis and Town Paralysis

The issue with the deer population has been an ongoing issue within Saddle River and has been handicapped by animal rights activists who live in town and activists outside of town who do not want to the deer to be killed no matter the public safety issues they may cause.

Public safety issues include increase reporting of Lyme ticks, vehicle-deer accidents, and the infiltration of predator animals like Coyotes who feed on deer as their food source.

Last November a non-binding ballot question in town asked residents if non-lethal means should be used by the town to control the deer population issue. Due to the zealous protesting and politicking by the non-lethal group lead by Dean Cerf, the resolution for non-lethal methods passed.

A committee was formed by the town, lead by the same Dean Cerf, was then tasked to come up with a plan to submit to the State’s NJ Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to approve and control the deer population. After months of inaction, a plan by Dean Cerf’s committee finally offered to the Borough Council. The solution was onsite deer operations to sterilize the female deer.

The Town Council submitted to the State the plan even though the State stated before-hand they believe a non-lethal method must be included in any plan to properly control the deer population.

Next Steps

From the meeting Borough Administrator, Jerry Giaimis was tasked to put together a new draft proposal. The new proposal will include lethal means but will not be considered according to Mayor Kurpis unless the State rejects the borough’s already submitted a non-lethal plan.

“If we don’t go ahead with a non-lethal solution for deer management because this is a public safety matter we want to be able to implement an alternative lethal solution within a reasonable amount of time,” Kurpis said.




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