Shit Head DeNicola
- Culling of deer ends for the year (The Times of Trenton)
Friday, March 10, 2006By ROBERT STERNStaff Writer
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP --
The sixth annual thinning of the township's troublesome deer population
Wednesday night with more than 150 deer killed, but the remaining deer
likely out of the woods yet.
The local deer herd remains large enough to warrant additional culls next
year and beyond, said Tony DeNicola, the Yale University-educated wildlife
biologist who heads the township's deer-management contractor, White Buffalo
DeNicola said White Buffalo killed 151 deer in the township this winter,
bringing its tally of deer culled since it began working for the township to
That's equivalent to the mid-range of the township's total estimated deer
population of 1,300 to 1,600 at the onset of White Buffalo's first cull in
DeNicola estimated yesterday the township still has about 350 to 400 deer,
meaning there was little, if any change from the estimate at the end of last
"We're kind of in a maintenance mode" of essentially keeping the deer
population from rebounding rather than winnowing it much below current
He said he bases the latest estimate in part on an aerial deer count done at
the end of 2004, as well as reproduction rates, the number of deer killed in
collisions with vehicles on township roads and the number White Buffalo
over the past two years.
The firm has a contract under which it gets up to $60,000 from the township
for this year's deer-management services. The contract covers both the
component and an ongoing deer birth-control treatment that is in its fourth
year in a more than 2-square-mile area of the township where neither killing
sports hunting takes place.
The birth-control trial, handled in partnership with Rutgers University
researchers, last year switched to a different experimental contraceptive
after the initial test vaccine appeared unreliable as a multiyear treatment,
The township's deer-management plan, since its inception, was tailored to
reduce the number of deer-vehicle collisions on local roads, help restore
deer-damaged wooded underbrush, protect residents' gardens and limit the
The township reported a 61 percent decline in deer-vehicle collisions within
its borders from 2000, when there were 342 such accidents, to 2004, when
DeNicola said he was told the number dropped even further in 2005, when
were 100 such accidents. The Times could not immediately confirm that figure
with the township late yesterday.
Animal-rights advocates have objected to the deer-management plan,
criticizing it as extreme and inhumane and contest the township's
expectations it will
effectively control the deer population in the long run.
But once-common protests and lawsuits against the deer culling have faded in
Even so, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(NJSPCA) this week called for a statewide moratorium on one particularly
controversial culling method used in the township. The NJSPCA labeled that
method "cruel and not an acceptable form of euthanasia."
Although White Buffalo and other wildlife-management outfits have used the
so-called "net-and-bolt" method to cull deer outside New Jersey, Princeton
Township is the only place in the state so far where it has been allowed.
Under net-and-bolt, deer are killed at point-blank range after being lured
bait sites, trapped in a net dropped from above and restrained by a team of
The captured deer dies when one of the specialists presses a "bolt gun"
against its head and fires a metal bolt into its skull.
Some 335 deer, or about 23 percent, of the 1,451 animals White Buffalo has
culled in the township died through the net-and-bolt method, including 12
winter, according to figures from the state and DeNicola.
The remaining deer White Buffalo has killed died in the open, shot by
sharpshooters with rifles.
The NJSPCA this week issued a statement urging the state Fish and Game
Council to bar the net-and-bolt method as a wildlife-management tool, at
some expert panel can conduct a more thorough review of the practice.
Karen Hershey, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental
Protection, which includes the Fish and Game Council, said Tuesday that the
request for a moratorium needed to be reviewed before she could comment on
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