WHEREAS, the 1999 Report to the Governor on Deer Management in New Jersey pointed out that hunting as a deer control methodology is more effective when used in conjunction with other population control methods, and that additional tools and approaches to deal with the over-abundance of deer are needed; and
WHEREAS, the report proposed recommendations to control excessive deer populations through new management initiatives, legislative actions to provide public funding for additional deer control, and for deer research and public education; and
WHEREAS, this approach is essential not only to control the deer population, but also that of black bears, geese, European Starlings, turkeys, and small mammals, whose populations have outgrown the carrying capacity of their natural habitats; and
WHEREAS,the 2005 adoption of the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Strategy requires a black bear hunt as part of the inclusive management of bear management in the State of New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, developmental encroachment into animal habitats has resulted in greater human contact with wild animals and birds, thereby posing a substantial risk of transmission of disease between humans and animals; and
WHEREAS, wildlife management requires a multidisciplinary and inter-governmental approach that provides sound scientific support for effectively designed and implemented control measures that reach across multiple jurisdictions and constituencies and the agencies committed to wildlife management must achieve greater levels of cooperation with each other to make the most of available resources, streamline the permitting process, and simplify outreach and education so that the general public is made aware of the health and safety, economic, and environmental problems that wildlife pose, and ensure that the programs developed to manage the excessive populations are efficiently and effectively administered; and
WHEREAS, the USDA and New Jersey Department of Agriculture took the first steps in achieving a collaborative approach to wildlife management through the development of the Wildlife Memorandum of Understanding and the continued operation of the Wildlife Management Inter-agency Working Group, respectively;
WHEREAS, these initiatives bring together the leading officials in wildlife management to work cooperatively to implement action-oriented programs designed to reduce the impact of wildlife on our farms, open space, and communities;
WHEREAS, pursuant to the interagency wildlife Memorandum of Understanding, the USDA APHIS wildlife Services implements an integrated Canada goose damage management program in New Jersey;
WHEREAS, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service completed an Environmental Impact Statement for Management of Resident Canada Geese, that provides expanded Canada goose control options for implementation/adoption by state wildlife agencies, including a “Depredation Order at Agricultural Facilities;” and
WHEREAS, the “Depredation Order at Agricultural Facilities” would allow New Jersey agriculturalists to control depredation resident Canada geese to reduce crop damage, and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 92nd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 14, 2007, emphatically urge the New Jersey Fish and Game Council and/or the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to:
- Support and provide all the necessary funding for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s interagency efforts to resolve wildlife management issues including the management of feral livestock populations;
- Allow any and all depredation permits to be valid for one year and streamline the process for renewal;
- Expedite the approval and implementation of new community-based programs, as they become available, to provide the much needed additional tools for the control of deer and wildlife populations;
- Continue to support a science-based black bear management methodology that allows for a hunting season as needed;
- Continue to work with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to extend the statewide resident goose season year-round, and increase the daily bag limit except during times of migration;
- Encourage the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to institute policies that aggressively decrease the numbers of deer in the state’s doe population;
- Encourage the New Jersey Divisiojn of Fish and Wildlife and/or the New Jersey Fish and Game Council to support the “Depredation Order at Agricultural Facilities,” contained in the United States Fish and Wildlife Services Program.
- Encourage the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a general depredation order for resident Canada geese;
- Increase the number of available turkey hunting permits in recognition of the growth of the turkey population throughout the state, and conduct research on turkey damage;
- Investigate the feasibility of a pilot program for using harvested geese in feeding programs for the hungry;
- Continue co-operative Avian Influenza sampling with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture during all wild bird activities as a surveillance measure for High Path Avian Influenza; and\
- Begin to work closely with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture to become compliant with the United States Department of Agriculture’s upcoming Chronic Wasting Disease Rule.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respectfully request the New Jersey Legislature to:
- Pass legislation to permanently and adequately fund wildlife management programs, including the restoration of the DEP deer-fencing program;
- Pass legislation that requires the DEP to apply a science based approach to the bear hunt;
- Pass legislation that requires all publicly owned lands purchased or operated with any public funds be developed with site-specific wildlife management plans, approved by the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture;
- Pass legislation to annually appropriate funds to continue statewide deer control and venison donation program whereby hunters and farmers can donate deer harvested by hunting, depredation permits and other special programs to charitable public food banks;
- Adopt legislation that would provide additional protections and limit liability for landowners, especially for those who allow essential hunting to control wildlife damage, thereby encouraging the opening of additional lands for that purpose;
- Consider legislation authorizing and funding the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to make restitution to farmers for wildlife damage to crops, livestock and bee hives and for costs incurred for materials and labor used to prevent damage caused by wildlife;
- Enact legislation to annually appropriate funds for wildlife damage surveys for New Jersey, wildlife damage research, and education at the Rutgers/NJAES Center for Wildlife Damage Control;
- Enact legislation to annually appropriate funds to the Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife control and educational programs; and
- Support the current composition and continued autonomy of the Fish and Game Council
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respectfully request New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation to sponsor and support federal legislation to increase, by at least $400,000, for the USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services budget for staffing and support for a pilot Cooperative Waterfowl Damage Management Program in New Jersey; and to implement actions in support of the “Depredation Order at Agricultural Facilities” contained in the newly-completed Environmental Impact Statement for Canada Geese.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respectfully request New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation to consider legislation authorizing and funding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to make restitution to farmers for wildlife damage to crops, livestock and bee hives and for costs incurred for materials and labor used to prevent damage caused by wildlife.