To the Editor:
Re “On the Ground, Counting Deer” (New Jersey and the Region, May 4) and the efforts of Essex County officials to justify the deer hunt in South Mountain Reservation:
When I moved to New Jersey from New York City 13 years ago, I was enchanted to encounter deer in a forest two blocks from my house in South Orange (which abuts the reservation).
People who move out here from the city generally feel the same way. It tends to be the Jersey natives who drive too fast and refuse to build fences in their backyards who view wildlife as the enemy.
You report that Susan Predl, a senior biologist with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, uses “distance sampling” to count the deer that managed to survive the recent county-organized, taxpayer-financed slaughter.
You also note that “counting deer is an imprecise science” and that an aerial survey is expensive, “but some believe it yields the most accurate count.” Grid searches are the best, although that would require patience and commitment, which seem in short supply in Essex County.
The article’s observations regarding “rutted roads” and “long-neglected picnic groves and campgrounds” more accurately describe the pitiful condition of the reservation. The lack of maintenance and patrol is staggering under the stewardship of Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., the county executive. The fault does not lie with the deer.
South Orange, N.J., May 5, 2008