It's a beginning --
- Deer become a 'quality of life issue'
Countywide contraception effort proposed by freeholders
By Michael Daigle, Daily Record
MORRIS TWP. -- Calling it a "significant quality of life issue," Morris
County leaders want to organize a countywide contraception program as a
way to control the size of the region's white-tail deer herd.
Freeholder Director Jack Schrier, who said deer present serious safety,
economic, environmental and social concerns, has invited officials from
every town in Morris County to the board's Wednesday morning meeting,
where experts in deer contraception will speak.
Although contraception isn't likely to replace hunting as the primary
method of controlling the deer herd, it can be useful in places where
the herd is small and concentrated, experts say.
"This is the most significant quality of life issue we face," Schrier
The number of deer-vehicle crashes is increasing, and the size of the
herd can be related to economic, environmental and social issues, he
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Two experts in deer immunocontraception -- Kathleen Fagerstone, of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research office in
Colorado, and Anthony DiNicola of White Buffalo Inc., a
Connecticut-based deer-herd management company -- will speak to the
Morris County freeholders at the board's 9:30 a.m. Wednesday meeting,
The experts will then address a group of town officials at the board's
The meetings are part of Schrier's effort to present alternatives to
hunting as a way to control the size of the deer herd. The municipal
officials' meeting is from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum on
East Hanover Road, and is sponsored by the freeholders and county park
Schrier also is seeking approval of a board resolution seeking the
federal government to set aside at least $5 million for research into
the development of a practical long-term immunocontraception formula and
delivery system. The issue, he said, is one that requires federal
involvement because it is not one that state, county or local
governments can solve by themselves.
The resolution was proposed in January, but action was delayed while an
information session was arranged. Schrier said he plans to ask for a
In his letter to Morris County municipal officials, Schrier, who this
year completed a five-year term on the state's Fish and Game Council,
said he did not know of one town in the county that has not had a
problem with deer.
"Even where they are hunted, deer still cause collisions, still feast on
gardens, still make officials almost desperate for other solutions,"
The county park commission supports hunts in several of its larger
parks, and towns like Mountain Lakes and Harding have held hunts. In
June, 400 Hanover residents picked up deer repellant supplied by the
DiNicola's company is conducting an immunocontraception study in
Princeton and at Giralda Farms, the Madison corporate complex.
The drug is designed to produce a longer lasting effect than other
similar drugs, the center said.
Schrier said this type of herd control effort may provide a safe,
acceptable and long-term solution "especially in areas where hunting is
neither safe nor appropriate due to housing density and other factors."
Larry Herrighty, chief of the state's Bureau of Wildlife Management,
said the Giralda Farms project was approved by the Fish and Game
It is a pivotal study, he said, because it will gather data that will be
used to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the GnRH
Immunocontraception will not replace hunting as a herd control method,
Herrighty said, because is only works where there is a small isolated
population, and not in areas where the deer can be free ranging.
At Giralda Farms, the herd numbers 60 to 80 on a 300-acre corporate
site, he said.
Immunocontraception is another tool that can be used to control the size
of the state's deer herd, he said, which now numbers about 150,000.
Hunting deer is still the chief herd-control measure, and provides
additional benefits like the meat hunters can keep, Herrighty said. From
1995 to 2003, hunters bagged an average of 4,640 deer in Morris County.
"Hunting is free," he said. "All other deer control methods use taxpayer
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