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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
April 26, 1996     Cape Gazette
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April 26, 1996
 

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Cape Henlopen Park officials beginning to deal with burgeoning deer population When white-tail deer begin showing up in open areas during the middle of the day, wildlife managers know there are prob- lems. That's what's happening now at Cape Henlopen State Park and state officials are responding. "We're getting to the point of an over-population problem," said park official Pat Cooper. "You can look out on the parade grounds on any given evening and see 30 deer feeding there." Jim O'Neill led a state team that reviewed the deer problem earlier this year. "You shouldn't see deer out in the middle of fields in mid- day," said O'Neill. "Food pres- sure shouldn't cause them to risk coming out. 'Tve been in other parks where this kind of activity has led even- tually to more serious problems. The deer could severely damage a lot of the underbrush in the park." To avoid getting to that point, a number of actions have been initi- ated to begin getting a handle on the Cape Henlopen deer popula- tion. "We're not sure how big a herd we do have," said O'Neill. "It could be that development pressure in the area surrounding the park is driving deer into Cape Henlopen but we don't know for sure. One of the things that's being initiated is a series of annual counts. We will pick certain areas that will be surveyed on specific nights, with spotlights, for deer. Our goal isn't to get an actual count. Rather we want to have some sense of trends. Are we see- ing more or less deer as the years go by? By surveying the same areas on the same days, we think we'll get that information." Because there's a sense of over- population, two actions will be implemented in the 1996-1997 hunting seasons to increase the number of deer taken by hunters. "What we've found is that there is a primary area of deer habitat," said O'Neill. "Part of that area is" in the permitted hunting area and part is not. In hunting season the deer move from the permitted BAREF00TIN' hunting area to the prohibited area. Beginning with the next fall hunting season, Delaware Fish and Wildlife officials will erect some deer stands along the line that delineates the permitted from the prohibited area. We feel that will give hunters more chances. The stands will be available through a permitting system." O'Neill said that more hunting days will also be added. "Up until now we have not per- mitted hunting in the designated park hunting areas during the muzzleloader season," said ONeill. "Beginning this year those seasons will be opened to add nine more hunting days. That should help a lot in getting the numbers down." O'Neill added that opening day brings out a lot of hunters but activity tends to be light on week- days. "We want to let people know that those days are also open for hunting." Hunting is a legitimate tool for managing wildlife populations, said O'Neill. "Our managers have reviewed a number of methods including catch and release to oth- er areas and birth control but they haven't proven successful on a practical basis. Many animals caught for release elsewhere die due to the stress, and birth control methods are uncertain and very expensive." Ultimately, said O'Neill, the deer herd has to be managed for the health of the animals and the park's environment. One of Cape Henlopen State Park's numerous white taft's takes an uncharacteristic day-time stroll in an open grassy area. GREAT FAMILY HOME 3 BR home on quiet street in a year round community. Minutes to the beach, large screened porch, cen- tral air, and fenced yard. $124,000. Call Linda Book: 227-6200. H-082 ! I IDEAL LOCATION TO RAISE A FAMILY This beautiful and spacious 3 BR home offers lovely landscaping with privacy and serenity. A great home at a great price_NOW ONLY $129,800. 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