Written by Michael Daigle
The Hopatcong Borough Council approved bow hunting for white tail deer on the municipal natural area preserve
for the 2013-2014 hunting season at their early Aug. meeting.
Bow hunting on certain borough properties according to a schedule based on the state hunting season for the area was approved last September by ordinance.
Councilman Michael Francis said borough permits would be needed to hunt, and no rifles or shot guns would be permitted.
Applications for the borough permits will be posted on the borough’s website, said Mayor Sylvia Petillo.
Deer hunting season begins in September and based on the type of weapon and hunting zone continues into mid-winter. Schedules are available from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Resident Joanne Koslowski asked how the hunt would be regulated and whether the land would be posted. She was concerned that non-hunters using the preserve could be endangered by the hunt.
Petillo said many large yellow signs will be posted around the perimeter of the preserve warning non-hunters of the activity.
Francis said hunting is regulated by the State of New Jersey and any potential violations should be reported to the local Fish and Wildlife officer.
The council took up the hunting ordinance last year after residents raised concerns about the number of deer in the borough and the number of vehicle-deer accidents. Several public discussions were held, including presentations from state wildlife experts
The ordinance says that the borough’s deer management task force would inform the council about June 15 of each year whether a hunt is needed, and the areas where it should take place.
The ordinance also set out rules for the use of deer fencing, and bans the feeding of deer on public or private lands of less than five acres. A fine of $100 would be imposed.
The distinction was made to avoid conflict with state laws that allow deer feeding for hunting purposes on lands over five acres.