Deer hunt planned for Chadds Ford Township

Chadds Ford Township landowners learned their options and
responsibilities for a managed deer hunt being planned to reduce the frequency
of Lyme disease.

A Civic Association task force, chaired by resident Peter
Jesson—and with Supervisor Garry Paul as supervisors’ liaison—held a public
meeting for landowners featuring Tim Smail, the township deer control officer
who is also a conservationist and wildlife biologist.

Residents were given a survey sheet asking whether they, or
any members of their families had Lyme, whether they would allow hunting on
their property or whether they would be a hunter.

Smail said hunting the properties would be up to the
landowners and various homeowners associations if the properties were in
developments, and that landowners would control hunters’ access to properties.

Those who allow hunting should identify property boundaries,
identify “no hunting” areas and they should walk hunters around the boundaries,
Smail said. Property owners should also develop deer and hunter management
plans and provide written rules and permission. It would be a landowner/hunter

The plan, so far, breaks the township down to 12 zones.
Hunters—using bows only—would be required to abide by state Game Commission
rules with some minor exceptions.

Smail said hunters, once they get permission from the
owners, should begin by harvesting does. They should buy seven permits for
antlerless deer, then take those deer before taking a buck. That would be the
most effective means of reducing the deer and tick population.

He also said homeowners could allow for a smaller safety
zone on their properties. The current safety zone is 50 yards from an occupied
structure for bow hunting. Homeowners may reduce that if they see fit.

Smail added that there was “no one-and-done” solution and
that it could take up to three years for the plan to be worked out fully.

A previous survey, the results of which were announced last
January, indicated that 43 percent of township respondents have had Lyme
disease. At the time, Jesson said that Lyme was “epidemic” in the township.

Lyme is a debilitating tick-borne disease. Ticks first
become infected in their younger stages by feeding off the blood of infected
rodents. As adults, the ticks feed off the deer. They then drop off and, if
they find a human host, infect the person.

The task force determined that a hunt was the best method
for controlling the tick population.

Smail reaffirmed the idea during the Nov. 22 meeting.

He said contraception methods and using insecticides are
costly and inefficient.

Paul said the township paid for a study that found 144 deer
per square mile in the township.

“That’s worse than we thought,” Paul said.

He said 10 deer per square mile is preferred, but definitely
no more than 30 per square mile.

Paul said the plan would start next year. It was not clear,
however, whether the managed hunt would begin in January or have to wait until
September when the next hunting season begins.

Deer season begins in mid September and runs through

A meeting for hunters was held Nov. 23.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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One Response to “Deer hunt planned for Chadds Ford Township”

  1. gardenmonky says:

    Lyme Disease is only part of the story. Deer overpopulation is harmful to people (Lyme Disease, car-deer collisions), other animals (over-browsing of food sources), and…deer (disease, more car-deer collisions, starvation when food sources dwindle). As their only predators, humans must take the responsibility to help put nature back in balance for the benefit of humans AND animals.

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