Yet Another Economic Threat to New Jersey — Too Many Deer
By Anthony Russo, President and CEO, CIANJ
Since March, the personal and economic toll that COVID-19 has taken on New Jersey has dominated every headline — as well it should. In addition to a health emergency that has claimed more than 16,000 lives statewide, the business community has been crushed, at its peak leaving more than one million state residents jobless. Many businesses have closed or been pushed to a brink from which they many never recover.
For this reason, we must remain vigilant against other dangers that continue to weaken our already challenged state. Among these dangers is New Jersey’s overabundance of white-tailed deer. While you may not realize that too many deer imperil our business community and our public health, they are, in fact, a serious threat! Anyone who has smashed their car hitting a deer on the highway — or lost their entire investment in their garden to deer browsing in their backyard — knows that we are being overrun by these animals.
For our state’s farmers, including many struggling small business owners and their hard-working employees, deer are a constant menace. Deer-related losses to high-value crops in New Jersey exceed $15 million per year. According to state wildlife experts, deer populations in some areas of New Jersey are perhaps 10 or 20 times as large as they should be. And in addition to the ever-present hazards posed by serious car crashes, science has proven that rising populations of deer correlate with increased numbers of deer ticks, which spread Lyme Disease.
We already have our hands full with this ongoing pandemic. We don’t need another biological crisis literally eating away at the economy of the Garden State. New Jersey must devise a workable plan to get these deer herds under control.