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North Caldwell Eager to Control Deer Population

Concerned about reports of Lyme Disease, borough considers options.

Bow hunting, pesticides and fencing are some of the ways North Caldwell is considering curbing the borough’s deer population. But what will actually work?

That’s the $64 million question faced by the three-square-mile suburb’s governing body.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, Borough Engineer and Department of Public Works Director Frank Zichelli suggested the town ask residents what they are doing to keep deer off their properties in a survey that will be mailed to all households later this year. 

The survey’s main goal would be to count the number of confirmed cases of Lyme Disease—a number the mayor and council feel they need in order to assess what could be a public health crisis. 

A survey conducted last year by a Deer Task Force made up of residents confirmed close to 60 cases of Lyme Disease in the borough which has just over 6,000 residents. But Laura Ostheimer, Chairperson of the task force, and others who have contracted the tick-borne illness believe the number is much greater.

The borough is looking to partner with the publisher of a North Caldwell publication to include the survey in an upcoming issue.

Meanwhile, the council is taking several measures to attempt to reduce the deer population. The council will introduce an ordinance to support resuming the county’s deer culling at Hilltop Reservation. Essex County officials announced earlier this year that the population has been reduced sufficiently in the reservation and that there would be no culling in the immediate future.

The possibility of spraying town fields with tick-controlling pesticides and fencing the property around the K-3 Grandview Elementary School were also floated Tuesday.

Hamilton Drive East resident Darren Silverstein said he supported the idea of fencing the school.

“We should be protecting the kids at all costs,” said Silverstein, a member of the Deer Task Force.

Bow hunting, which has been conducted in nearby Essex Fells, is another option.

North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer said hunters are hired by the police to perform the strictly-regulated bow hunt for free.

“There will be no trouble getting volunteers [to hunt],” Deuer said.

Susan October 12, 2012 at 01:00 PM
It is unjust and cruel to use bow hunting as a means to curtail the deer population. Those hunters are out for recreation -- they are not professional and many deer are hurt and left in pain by those seeking a "fun" activity. Shoot the deer with birth control-not arrows or bullets. It is not their fault that we have over built our community and virtually left no open space for nature and wildlife. We should protect our children from lyme disease certainly; but not by killing deer. Let's do something that is humane and still safe for our children.
Grover October 15, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Kill them all.
gregory l. mitchell October 15, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Grover,you are a Fool,and know nothing of wildlife-this can be determined by your foolish comment.When we start these killings,as you support.Where does this stop?Start killing the fox,racoons,skunks opposums,wild turkeys,ground hogs and the occassional bear that passes through?How about the song birds?Did you know these song birds are also a carrier of these ticks as well,not to forget about the gray squirrels as well !!!! Grover we have to exercise care as much as we can and that doesn't mean to become a prisoner of your own home and never go out either. Now one may say "ok for you,you never had Lyme Disease"-No,But my son has!!!!!!!!!!! You must get treatment early,which he did and he has been fine ever since,He too even after contracting the disease,feels as I do.I am not opposed to proper hunting seasons managed by the State,I just do not hunt,however have been a competitive rifle shooter both high power big bore and 4 position Gallery smallbore shooting at paper targets. Respectfully, Gregory L. Mitchell,West Caldwell
Alexander Davis October 19, 2012 at 01:53 AM
The Lyme epidemic is unnecessary. We already know how to stop it. The wise residents of Monhegan Island Maine and Mumford Cove CT ended their Lyme epidemics by getting rid of the deer. This works because 95% of the deer ticks come from eggs produced by ticks feeding on deer. The deer tick infects us not only with Lyme disease, which has ruined so many lives, but also with babesiosis and anaplasmosis, both of which can be fatal and are on the rise. Children are the group at highest risk for Lyme disease, which can lead to crippling arthritis and brain damage. Some may say that it's "inhumane" to go after the deer, but it's really inhumane to allow these pestilential deer to spread horrible diseases to humans, especially children. The deer epidemic caused the Lyme epidemic. In 1930 there were 300,000 deer in the US. Today there are 30 million. Although other animals may carry ticks, the adult egg-laying tick requires a sizeable mammal to feed on and cannot feed on a mouse squirrel, bird, etc. Many animals, such as opossums, can very effectively groom themselves, eating the ticks. There is no place known where the deer tick population has been generally sustained, so as to produce a Lyme epidemic, in the absence of deer.
Mike October 27, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Deer are very tasty, no hormone, steroids or chemically treated meat. My shoprite bill during hunting season is in the 30 dollars range. I just need the the usual milk eggs ect .

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