November 30, 2018
It’s not quite hunting deer between rows of chairs during an English 202 lecture, but Princeton University has granted three bowhunters approval to hunt deer on university property.
According to the school’s FAQ page about what it’s calling “deer management”, the Princeton Health Department has observed an above-average number of deer on the Butler Tract, a stretch of land which used to house graduate students but has been absent living quarters since 2016.
Nearby residents lodged some complaints, and Princeton — along with the the New Jersey town's municipal health officer — decided to give bowhunting the okay.
Three members of local group Suburban Deer Management are tasked with the hunt, according to the school, and will hunt until 10 deer have been removed from the area. The Ivy League college says the group has been helping with deer management in the area for several years.
Princeton says the two main reasons for actively reining in the deer population are curbing potential cases of Lyme disease, and decreasing potential car accidents.
The FAQ page also said the town has, instead of killing deer, tried birth control strategies in the past. Unfortunately, killing deer has been “much more effective.”
Princeton’s student newspaper, Daily Princetonian, reports that at least one area resident isn’t pleased with the plan. A local high schooler sent an email to Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton, voicing concern. Singer responded on Instagram, explaining this style of deer management is decades old:
Only one of the three hunters will be on site at a time, according to the school, and hunters will be in an elevated tree stand. The hunters are only permitted to shoot at deer just below them, and not across fields.
“The safety of the community is our top priority through every step of this process,” Princeton deputy spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss told the Princetonian.