Survey Reveals that Statewide Deer Numbers are Out of Balance
New Jersey Farm Bureau, the state’s largest non-governmental agriculture advocacy organization, has announced the results of a technologically advanced study commissioned to assess white-tailed deer populations in eight New Jersey counties. The report concluded that deer densities per square mile are on the average 4-5 times greater than safe and sustainable numbers. In one case, the deer density was ten times the safe and sustainable number.
The survey, conducted by wildlife habitat planning and management consultancy Steward Green, was performed in April 2019. Using drone-based thermal imaging technology, trained wildlife biologists and infrared analysts performed an in-the-field analysis to estimate deer populations in seven study areas encompassing more than 12,730 acres, or approximately 20 square miles. The areas surveyed were in Atlantic, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, and Warren counties.
Steward Green’s survey conclusively revealed that there are, on average, approximately 80-100 white-tailed deer per square mile in the areas covered by the study.
“Many biologists, ecologists, and environmental experts agree that a healthy and sustainable deer density is far below what we found, some say it is as low as five to fifteen deer per square mile,” said Gene Huntington, RLA LEED AP, Steward Green’s founder and lead consultant, who explained that the region’s deer have no natural predators. “All areas surveyed in this study are severely overpopulated, leading to economic loss from crop/landscape damage, automobile collisions, an increased risk of Lyme disease, as well as the continuation of depleted habitats that threaten New Jersey’s forest lands and other native wildlife.”
“We are grateful to the experts at Steward Green for compiling these important statistics, and for their ongoing efforts to manage conservation and wildlife concerns in the Garden State,” said Ryck Suydam, President of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. “The State of New Jersey is responsible for adequately managing the state’s deer herd. The current population of white-tailed deer in New Jersey has become an epidemic and stronger action needs to be taken to bring it back into balance.”