Hunters climb 20 feet into trees in suburban parks, aiming not just for deer but for pregnant ones — in one of the most macho operations that Essex County runs, the annual deer management program in South Mountain, Eagle Rock and Hilltop Reservations.

But Joe DiVincenzo, who is known to have fun at some of his news conferences, like the time he donned a hard hat to take the first whack at demolishing Overlook Asylum, played it absolutely straight for this one.

Flanked by Essex County Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura on one side and Wildlife Management Consultant Daniel Bernier on the other, and wearing a chalk-stripe suit, County Executive Joe DiVincenzo told reporters yesterday that the 2011 deer hunt was a success with 187 deer shot and 152 deer fetuses eliminated, culling the deer population by a total of 339. The numbers would have been higher, he added, if snow hadn’t cancelled two of the 12 hunting days set aside.

The four-year total of deer killed is 1,089. Of those, 643 were shot and 446 were unborn.

The biggest numbers this year came from the hunt in the Hilltoop Reservation, an area where the deer population is seriously out of control, DiVincenzo said. “They’re in herds,” he said. “They’re walking up Bradford Avenue in herds.”

At one point in the conference, DiVincenzo held up a copy of the Verona-Cedar Grove Times with a headline about deer-vehicle collisions, and he shook his head in disbelief at animal rights activists who would stop the county’s deer population efforts. “What is is going to take? For someone to get killed on our roadways? It upsets me because they just don’t get it.”

Consultant Daniel Bernier told reporters that many of the pregnant deer were carrying twins or triplets, and in one case, quadruplets. But he did not think the multiples were evidence of what he termed the “so-called rebound effect,” which posits that the reproductive rate of deer goes up when their numbers are thinned, canceling out the benefits of a deer hunt.

Bernier also said it wasn’t feasible for the county to use immuno-contraceptives to control the deer population in Essex County. He explained why in the video below.

YouTube video

DiVincenzo, who told the New York Times in 2008 that the deer hunt issue was so emotional that he’d received death threats, declined to say whether there’d been any threats this year. Sheriff Fontoura quickly took the microphone to say, “We do not discuss threats on public officials. Whatever problems arise, we’re prepared to deal with.”

“I’m not a hunter. I don’t own a gun,” DiVincenzo added. “I don’t do this to be popular.”

He said the hunt is a model for counties around the state and would be held again next year. The venison from the 2011 hunt is expected to provide 25,000 meals for the Food Bank of New Jersey.

6 replies on “DiVincenzo Declares 2011 Deer Hunt a Success”

  1. Hooray for cooler heads prevailing. Deer overpopulation is a serious problem and the county dealt with it in an appropriate and professional manner.

    Death threats? Really? That is just utterly pathetic. All of these Housewives of Essex County who don’t have anything better to do with their time and money than plaster their lawns with Stop the Deer Hunt signs, troll Baristanet and phone in death threats really need to chill the frack down, get their panties untwisted and go back to berating their nannies.

  2. hansmeier, your time away from this site really hasn’t resulted on your becoming any nicer, now has it? Your post was an unfortunate typification of a certain kind of animal lover, and obviously cruel in its intent. Would you show such a misogynistic post to to your spouse (if in fact you’re lucky enough to have one)?

    (I, admittedly, was thinking with regard to those reported “death threats” of the sort of professed animal lover who is resolutely anti-circus and anti-zoo. But I also might suggest that since politicians also sometimes lie, that it might not be the wisest thing then to take DiVincenzo’s claims wholly seriously.)

    Also, why was the pattern of the county executive’s suit germane to the article? Would deer or hunters much care if he’d instead worn, say, a district check or glen plaid?

    In any event, if anyone can clarify for me how Mr. DiVincenzo and his minions in fact truly know how many deer fetuses were “aborted” (not the most accurate word, given that their carrying parents were in fact shot and killed first), I’d appreciate it. So much of this reminds me, now that I think of it, of our corresponding emphasis on hody counts during the conflict in Vietnam. (My own company was never averse to counting a water buffalo or two if and when it it had to by way of placating battalion hq.).

  3. I’ve eaten venison once or twice and didn’t care for the strong taste. But then, deer is a game animal in contrast with cow, which is more engineered for common consumption. I suppose if hunting had remained the primary means to obtain meat for the table, I and probably most of us would be accustomed to the taste.

    I’m glad that this program, which reduces an overgrown herd and feeds poor people, is a success. I think the county exec’s personal statements regarding gun ownership speaks of the bias against gun owners in this state. The guy isn’t even a gun owner but being associated with this program, he suffers from battered gun owner syndrome.

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