sbury-deerA deer crosses a Shrewsbury street in 2010. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

Local and state laws that allow deer hunting closer to housing than in the past drew protesters to Shrewsbury on Sunday, the Asbury Park Press reports Monday.

Led by Sycamore Avenue resident Dede Lichtig, about a dozen protesters from Shrewsbury, Fair Haven, Middletown and elsewhere voiced concern about a shrinking of the deer hunting safety zone passed earlier this year by the state Legislature, as well the borough government’s decision to maintain its hunting law, the Press reports.

In June, after months of study and debate, Shrewsbury’s governing body voted to allow residents to do what they’ve been allowed to do for the past five years: kill the animals with arrows, provided they do so within New Jersey Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife regulations.

From the Press:

Around the same time, the Legislature reduced the bow hunting safety zone, from 450 feet to 150 feet from a building, effectively bringing the hunt within steps of somebody’s back door.

“All you need to do to come into town and shoot an animal is either find out where the hunting areas are or approach someone and say, ‘Can I hunt on your property?’ or, ‘Can I pay you to hunt on your property?’ ” Lichtig said.

Supporters of Lichtig’s dispute the facts behind the reasoning of the shrunken safety zone, and say that with hunters perched in trees so close to backyards, personal safety is at risk.