Opposition group targets deer hunt in East Goshen
A leader says township officials are downplaying the number of residents who are against the hunt.
A resident of the Supplee Valley East section of East Goshen says township officials are downplaying opposition to a planned September-through-January deer hunt.
Ellen Sinclair, a Malvern teacher, said she is among 10 township residents who have strong feelings against the hunt.
"They know there's opposition to this deer hunt," Sinclair said of township officials, despite the few who have spoken out against it.
Sinclair said that everyone with whom she has talked opposed the hunt, but she said few have the time to voice their concern.
"There are 10 of us that have kind of been organizing our efforts," Sinclair said in an interview. Two of the opponents had recommended that Sinclair speak for the group.
The 2000 U.S. census reported there were 16,824 residents of East Goshen. In 2007, an aerial survey found 296 deer inside the township and 142 on its borders.
On April 1, the East Goshen supervisors unanimously approved deer kills by bow hunters in trees on four pieces of open space owned by the township.
Five groups met on the May 14 application deadline. Those approved to hunt will be informed tomorrow.
The hunts are to take place during statewide seasons set by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, between Sept. 20 and Jan. 24.
Sinclair went public with her concerns after reading a recent interview in which Jim McRee, chairman of the township deer-management committee, said that there was limited opposition to the supervisors' decision approving the hunt.
"There were about a half-dozen people who commented" against the program, McRee said. There were also 15 e-mail responses, he said, to a request for comment, which was in the township's April newsletter. But only "two were opposed to hunting," he said.
Sinclair - a former member of McRee's committee - said of East Goshen officials: "For them to say they only received 15 e-mails, and two in opposition, doesn't paint a clear picture. Some [opponents] may not have computers."
And, she said, opponents of the hunt don't show up for supervisors' sessions at which deer policy is set. "People don't get up and go to these meetings," she said. "They have their own lives."
Asked how she knew of opposition beyond her group of 10, she said, "When I talked to anybody in this township, they all opposed this hunt." But "when you say that there's going to be a deer hunt, they act surprised."
In an e-mail response to the criticism, McRee said the work of his committee had been "prominently featured" in the five issues of East Goshen's quarterly newsletter since April 2007. He said 7,500 copies of which are "distributed to every address in the township."
And, he wrote, "The committee's information is readily available on the township Web site,
» READ MORE: www.eastgoshen.org"
; or in printed material at the township office.
East Goshen formed its deer-management committee in January of last year, McRee said.
Sinclair said she served on the committee for four months, but stepped down because she believed that the committee was intent on a hunt. Township records show that her resignation was reported last July.
She said she voiced opposition even before the committee was formed. "At the August 2006 meeting" of East Goshen supervisors, she said she and others "raised loud opposition to a deer hunt."
She said she and another hunt opponent spent "a couple days and knocked on doors" to get 62 signatures on a petition opposed to a deer hunt.
"It's just a huge safety issue for me in my neighborhood," she said, noting she has a 7-year-old son.
"I don't know if [township officials] "have envisioned what it's going to be like in our backyard."