Dear Friends of NJ Wildlife,
Please take a moment this week to post a comment on the National Park Service link (below). Some talking points are provided. Just copy and paste them in the comments section via the link. Say you are against the hunt. At the first comment session in Morristown on July 27, we provided the NPS with a plethora of research and studies, but we must continue to send comments to drive home these facts. Due by Aug. 14th, so please don't delay!
Thank YOU on behalf of all NJ animals!
From our friends at ......
Animal Protection League of NJ
Morristown National Historical Park Deer
The National Park Service (NPS) had for decades resisted managing park lands to maximize deer to support recreational hunting. As a result, and with natural fluctuations, the Morristown National Historical Park (MNHP) deer population remained stable. In 1975, deer were not damaging the understory.
The Park is not an ecological island: ultimately, Jockey Hollow and its deer were influenced by outside "game" management practices, increased development, and, early on, the failure of Park management to mechanically remove invasive Japanese barberry.
In 1977, wildlife journals reported that state game bureaus were managing herds "with ever increasing intensity," with a "primary management plan of increasing the productivity of the whitetail deer through habitat manipulation and harvest regulation to produce optimum sustainable yield and maximization of the male deer harvest and hunter satisfaction."
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife was managing "thousands" of public acres for deer, and encouraging the same "productive" practices on leased private hunting lands. The cumulative impacts reached fruition during the 1980s.(The effects of managing forests for deer were raised-- and ignored by the hunting community -- during the 1940s.) There are seven Wildlife Management Areas in Morris County. Morris County Parks Commission (and New Jersey Audubon) exacerbated matters by initiating sustained hunts at Lewis Morris and other parks. Please see the extensive list of local hunts below.
Morristown Historical National Park has proposed the lethal removal of deer to obtain a regeneration of mixed hardwood forest at Jockey Hollow. This is short-term, and in some ways, highly political: neither the Park nor conservation-ammo "partnerships" - Teaming with Wildlife --acknowledge ongoing, and increased, game management, which continues unabated. Proposed land management practices will create more, not fewer, deer. Perpetual, "sustained" hunts are clearly in the cards. Please see talking points below.
Wildlife Policy Specialist
Please Submit Comments by August 14.
Please submit your written comments by August 14, 2011 at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/3paessd
- A recent 2010 Yale University study found that deer are not a leading factor in determining variation in vegetation impacts across western Connecticut: "The empirical basis for presumptions that white-tailed deer cause forest regeneration failure is limited."
- Recent studies in Virginia found that deer affect "only the smaller stage classes of trees likely to die due to other limiting factors" and do not, as the Service plan says, affect forest canopy diversity unless other disturbances, many proposed by the Service, are present.
- A 2008 Connecticut Extension Service study reported that "smaller canopy trees seemed to benefit from deer browsing." (some larger do not) Species diversity was generally higher outside of deer exclosures.
- The white-tail deer has co-evolved with forests for 3.5 to 3.9 million years. Kill proponents blame deer for the spread of Japanese barberry in the understory. The indictment: native deer do not eat non-native barberry.
- J. barberry is highly invasive in the absence of deer; its seed is spread by birds." Its roots are shallow but tough, and it shades out other native plants. The plant is still sold as an ornamental in New Jersey and Morris County. J. barberry was present inside enclosures, and outside, in above Connecticut study. "
- 2004 studies conclude that "white-tailed deer represent a significant and previously unappreciated vector of seed dispersal across the North American landscape, probably contributing an important long-distance component to the seed shadows of hundreds of plant species, and providing a mechanism to help explain rapid rates of plant migration."
- Oak regeneration. According to forestry experts: "Typically, a forest that consisted primarily of large oak trees may naturally reproduce to become one in which oak is a minor component or absent altogether, and maples, cherry, ash, elm or other woody species take over. Because this reproduction problem is compounded by high grading, wide-scale death of oaks from gypsy moth defoliation and oak wilt, the acreage of oak forests is declining and will continue to do so in the future." The role of white-tailed deer in lack of oak generation at MNHP is exaggerated.
- Refugia. Hunted female white-tails expand home range by 30 per cent. Deer respond to hunting pressure by moving deeper into forests and unhunted tracts to escape human predators. The Morris County Parks Commission has conducted recreational hunts in 17 parks since 1992, including parks contiguous to MNHP. See below.
- White-tailed deer population ecology. Deer reproduction is governed by food and cover. White-tail deer respond to hunting pressure with higher productivity. By removing competitors for food, hunting either raises productivity, or, in areas where food is plentiful, arrests deer at high fertility rates. On the other hand, killing too many females can cause a population crash.
- Both habitat enhancement for deer conducted on Wildlife Management Areas and on private lands leased for hunting provide ample food, which means does breed at first estrus, with better neonatal health. This is happening in towns and parks adjacent to Jockey Hollow which are "managing" annual hunts and conducting "hunter satisfaction" surveys -- with taxpayer dollars.
- Morris County parks do do not collect data on deer fertility rates, which are undoubtedly high in response to shooting programs. Hunt proponents and game management areas that are producing deer are pushing and pulling the species. Hunting is keeping the fertility rate high. It will do so in perpetuity. Deer seek refuge where they can find it.
- The key to fewer deer is a lower fertility rate. Both the proposed killing and habitat enhancement obtains the opposite effects.
- Among other management goals, the National Park Service proposes opening forest canopies so that sunlight reaches the floor. This is classic enhancement of deer range. White-tails browse and forage on warm weather grasses and woody stems.
- William Sharpe, forest hydrology professor at Pennsylvania State University, states that absent acid in the soil, plants and trees would thrive to the extent that deer browsing would have no significant impact.
Hunting in the Surrounding Areas
- Forests in New Jersey and other states are failing due to fragmentation, development (interests condemning deer often work with developers), sprawl, draining wetlands, clear-cutting for timber and game management, pollution, invasive species that spread in the absence of deer, climate changes, acid rain throughout the 20th century, and state game agency management of deer for increase. Rocky soil also contributes to acidity. Sun light, as the Park Service knows, is a limiting factor due to forest canopies.
The Morris County Parks Commission has held deer hunts in the following county parks:
In addition, deer hunting/lethal removal takes place in many other areas, including:
Shiff Nature Preserve
Thirdly, Black River Wildlife Management Area manages habitat for deer, serving as a reservoir for deer killed as pests in surrounding locales. Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge enhances habitat for deer. Schiff Nature Preserve, while killing deer, conducts in some cases annual controlled burns, which provide food and habitat for deer, in over a dozen locations.
Thanks to everyone who attended the public hearings.
Animal Protection League of NJ
PO Box 174
Englishtown, New Jersey[masked]