Perfect Timing

Ode to the Princeton Deer

Corrections or additions?

This column was prepared for the September 10, 2003 issue of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

To the Editor: Author’s Query

Thank you so much for printing "The Dilemma"

in the U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issue. I felt thrilled when my story

was selected for publication. Since you raised the question about

my "completed novel waiting in a drawer," I’ll give you a

brief summary:

Cathy Connally, a lonely wife of controlling and manipulative

Brian Connally, is a romantic pushover, searching for happiness in

her own house when their three-year marriage does not produce the

loving nest she hoped it would be. Lonely and suffocated by her

husband’s

constant demands, she is given the opportunity to find herself when

Brian is transferred to Scotland for a year. Amidst the demands of

Brian’s job, a Scottish lover who wants to spoil her, a serial killer

who wants to eliminate her before she reveals his identity, and a

mysterious friend who uses her to catch the killer, Cathy’s personal

journey helps her to discover that there is more to a marriage than

just love and that true happiness does not come from material things

— it comes from within.

I prefer to classify the novel as mainstream women’s fiction.

I am now in the process of preparing the final draft, in hopes of

finding an agent. If you know of an agent who might be interested

in this type of novel, please let me know.

Thanks again for considering my work.

Linda Aldrich Teichmann

Top Of Page
Perfect Timing

THANK YOU FOR featuring Richard Skelly’s wonderful article on

"Yoga for Singles" (U.S. 1, August 27) at the perfect time

for our new season beginning next week

Skelly did a great job in capturing what we are about and the varied

programs and services at our little center. It is much appreciated

for a small business like mine to get the coverage you afford for

our special programs on an ongoing basis.

Deborah Metzger

Princeton Center for Yoga & Health,

www.princetonyoga.com

Top Of Page
Ode to the Princeton Deer

A number of Princetonians have read or heard Marvin

Harold Cheiten’s "The Hunting of the Deer" (U.S. 1 Summer

Fiction issue, July 23) and been affected by the poem. It would appear

that, if Princeton Township’s objective is to reduce the deer herd,

the program is failing: there are more fawns this year in our

neighborhood

than in the past 18 years. One of the most compelling reasons to

reject

the plan, from the taxpayers’ perspective, is its sheer uselessness.

However, New Jersey’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), which

approved Princeton’s plan after hunting rights were granted to

bowhunters,

may see it differently. The DFW approved the plan (according to an

August 13 newspaper report in Town Topics entitled "Township

introduces

Bow-Hunting Ordinance") under pressure from the Fish and Game

Council to grant additional hunting rights.

The Council has a vested interest in seeing the "carrying

capacity"

of the herd increase for the benefit of hunters. Deer hunting for

decades in Princeton has not slowed the tendency of increasing

numbers.

Even though from 1983-1990 bow hunting accounted for 747 deer kills

and from 1991-1997 bow hunting and shotgun hunting together accounted

for 1,052 kills, the herd steadily increased from 800 in 1991 to 1,300

in 1997 and 1,600 in 2000.

White Buffalo, the firm retained by Princeton Township to kill deer,

reported 1,300 deer in 2000. If one takes the White Buffalo number

and the claimed 950 deer killed since 2000, then subtracts 300 deer

killed by car accidents and hunters (not reported in Township

statistics),

there should be 50 deer in the Township, not the 610 presently being

reported by the Deer Management Committee.

From a biological perspective, the disconnect is absolutely

predictable:

the high birthrate is typical of a white-tail deer population under

heavy pressure from overdevelopment and harvesting. Indeed, the impact

of heavy harvesting has been demonstrated experimentally in the Edwin

S. George Reserve in Michigan, when a population reduced to 10 deer

by such harvesting rebounded to 212 in six years — a population

growth rate more than 50 percent per year (statistics cited in

"The

Governor’s Report on Deer Management in New Jersey").

In New Jersey alone, 1 million deer have been exterminated since 1909.

The herd statistics adduced by Princeton Township are characteristic

of rebound, and extrapolation would suggest that Princeton’s "deer

population problem" will not be resolved by the end of the fifth

year of the "five-year plan" of the program, 2005.

Princeton taxpayers and businesses have paid for the extermination

of deer, which is accomplished using a variety of methods. These

include

the so-called "net-and-bolt method." The captive bolt gun

used is designed for abattoirs, where it is intended that the animal

be in physical restraints, so that the gun can be correctly aimed.

In the woods there are no restraints other than struggling men and

a net, as a result of which the deer may not be killed instantly and

may undergo excruciating suffering.

Correctly used in an abattoir, furthermore, a secondary

measure such as exsanguination is required after the captive gun blow

to ensure the immediate death of the animal. White Buffalo does not

refer to the use of any secondary measure. The gun bolt’s use as a

method of euthanasia is illegal in New Jersey (NJSA 8:23A-1.11) as

is capture and euthanasia (NJSA 23:4-42-4e) and the abuse and torture

of animals in general (NJSA 4:22-26). "Netting and bolting"

has been condemned by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal

Rights (AVAR), the Fund for Animals, and the Humane Society of the

United States (HSUS).

Despite the certainty that the deer do not die quietly and the

probability

that many suffer as they are killed, the designation of euthanasia

("an easy and painless death, "death without suffering")

continues

to be used glibly in press releases and newspaper articles (for

example,

Town Topics, "Township introduces Bow-Hunting Ordinance,"

August 13).

We have been told that 950 deer have been killed in Princeton Township

in the last three years using the net and bolt method and

sharpshooters.

If the 50 percent or greater birthrate figure referred to above is

correct, or even close, Princeton’s individual and business taxpayers

are on a slippery slope and will be paying for decades to achieve

numbers deemed sustainable. Taxpayers in Princeton Township can be

compared to Sisyphus, rolling a heavy boulder (the tax burden) up

a hill only to have it roll down, year after year.

Unlike Camus’ version of the myth, many Princetonians are not content

with this toil, nor do many approve of the methods employed to reduce

the deer herd. The Township Committee has never allowed a referendum

on the issue.

On Monday, September 22, at Princeton Township’s public hearing on

the ordinance, taxpayers will seek answers regarding long term deer

birthrate statistics. We hope that Township’s five-person committee

will come around and realize it cannot force tens of thousands of

taxpayers to fund a deer management plan that fails to achieve its

long-term objective of reducing herd size in the Township, for

understandable

biological reasons.

Sheila M. MacRae

Howe Circle, Princeton


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