Deer Hunting OK on Natural Preserve in Hopatcong
Residents can sign up starting on Monday for bow hunting on the Natural Preserve.
The Hopatcong Borough Council approved bow hunting on the Natural Preserve for the 2012-13 white tail deer hunting season at Wednesday night's meeting.
It was the first parcel of borough owned property to be opened for hunting since the council passed a deer hunting ordinance last summer.
The council also approved a bow hunting application form for those seeking borough permits to participate in the hunt.
Mayor Sylvia Petillo said the application would be available on the borough’s website starting Monday. There is no fee for the application, she said.
Petillo said the council had intended to start the hunt earlier, but Hurricane Sandy interfered with the planning of the event. The deer hunt task force, set up to monitor the hunt, was unable to meet because of the storm.
Councilman Michael Francis said the goal had been to open up several parcels of borough owned property to bow hunters, but they settled on the Natural Preserve so the hunt could start.
The ordinance, passed in September, established bow hunting on certain borough properties and banned the feeding of deer.
The ordinance was needed, Petillo said, in September to address the problem of deer herd management in the borough.
The borough had 40 car-deer accidents in 2009 and 93 in 2011, a state wildlife biologist reported in September.
New Jersey had recorded the fifth highest number of Lyme disease cases, and in 2009 and 2010, Sussex County had the second highest total in the state, the council was told.
The ordinance only addresses hunting on public lands; the council can not control hunting on private property.
The ordinance says that the borough’s deer management task force would inform the council on around June 15 of each year whether a hunt is needed, and the areas where it should take place.
In other business, the council accepted a $4,400 grant for the borough’s participation in a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” program that will run from Friday to Jan. 2.
The council also accepted $16,633 to be placed in the 2012 budget, earnings from the sale of recycled materials.