By KATHY CHANG
EDISON — Residents on Oak Grove Lane near the Metuchen Golf and Country Club are having an “oh deer” of a problem.
“I approached the mayor’s office five years ago and told them that there is a deer problem,” said resident Fred Carpene, who said although at the time it was not a large problem. “But in the past five years the deer population has grown exponentially thanks to the great reproductive abilities of deer I guess.”
Carpene and several other residents aired their concerns with the Township Council at a meeting on Feb. 22.
“Destruction to shrubbery is unbelievable,” he said. “We try our best to maintain nice shrubs, nice landscaping, and it has become more and more impossible.”
Carpene said the deer have been defecating on their lawns, which he said may carry Lyme disease. He said some of his neighbors have been struck with the disease and other neighbors are showing symptoms of the disease.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The deer population is also causing a driving hazard in the area.
“Drive up our street at night, you have to drive less than 5 miles per hour because either the deer can run into you or you can run into a deer so it’s getting to the point it is no fun any longer,” said Carpene.
Jay Elliot, director of the Edison Department of Health and Human Services, said the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish & Wildlife provides tips on deer-proofing of yards, which he said is somewhat effective.
He said other municipalities have done sterilization activities, which is a little less intrusive and naturally reduces the deer population.
“Princeton has done that relatively successfully,” he said. “We can certainly look into it and find out what the cost would be, the feasibility of it and what the relative success would be.”
Resident Robert Hamlet said there are also issues with some people letting deer grow up in their backyard, which township officials said they would take a look into.
Carpene asked the council if there were any state and federal funds to combat the deer population as well as the laws on deer hunting with a bow and arrow.
Elliot said he did not know of any state and federal funds. Township Attorney William Northgrave said as far as deer hunting goes any discharge of firearms would be a violation of a township ordinance.