BERKELEY – Residents of the senior communities move there for the quiet and serenity. That’s what deer like about it, too. And they were there first.
For the decades since these senior communities have been carved out of the woods, deer have been around. They gather at the waterways. They munch people’s plants. They go for leisurely strolls down the streets, sometimes in small herds. Every so often a resident will ask the elected officials what can be done to keep the deer population away from the people population.
The most recent one was Barbara Goldstein, who lives in Silver Ridge Park North. She came out to a Township Council meeting. She was worried about crashes between deer and drivers. She said the deer defecate on the lawns.
Residents can’t put up fences to keep the deer out because fences violate the homeowner association bylaws, she said.
One discussion was a larger deer-mediation structure that would span the outside of the entire development.
Township Clerk Beverly Carle noted that any large-scale construction would have to go before the Pinelands Commission anyway, which is an environmental watchdog agency.
Councilman John Bacchione said that most outdoorsmen advocate an increase of hunting to control the population, but obviously out in the woods, and not anywhere near a residential area.
Township Business Administrator John Camera said that the state can increase the bagging licenses. There are other options that would not impact homeowners, but these are state decisions. “Enhanced hunting, bottom line, would reduce the deer population.”
There’s some movement on these changes underway, and Camera said he hoped to see it come to fruition in the fall.
Police Chief Kevin Santucci attends many of the council meetings and he said that his department has been working with the state on these regulations. However, when it comes to hunting, not everyone likes that solution. Whenever he speaks to groups about the issue, he says half of them are for increasing hunting and half want nonlethal solutions.
However, when hunters use the meat then people are more willing to accept that idea, Camera said.
One suggestion was transporting the live deer elsewhere. Camera said that it’s not impossible but it’s extremely complicated.
Councilman Michael Signorile, who leads a coalition of senior communities, said this is an issue that they are very aware of and are working with state authorities told a plan. “Everybody agrees with you,” he told Goldstein.