Hanover’s Balch Hill area to be opened to deer hunters
“It’s kind of catching up with us that our predecessors eliminated the natural predators for deer years ago,” said Adair Mulligan, executive director of Hanover Conservancy, which owns part of the nature area.
The area is a favorite among local hikers and bird-watchers. It has been closed to hunting for the past 10 years.
Mulligan said the deer population “has expanded very dramatically and the deer are overwhelmingly small and thin.”
According to a recent study by Dartmouth College students, the deer population is encroaching other wildlife. The deer eat native plant life before having to resort to eating invasive plants, encouraging the growth of invasive plant species and eliminating nesting habitats for native birds, Mulligan said.
“We are certainly seeing a lot of ticks up there,” Mulligan said.
The natural area will be open to archers carrying a special town permit from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. No firearms will be allowed.
Most local residents favor thinning the deer herd, Mulligan said. And people using the nature area during hunting season are advised to be alert, wear bright orange and keep their pets with them on the trails.
N.H. Fish and Game, which is working on a larger regional effort to reduce the deer population in the Upper Valley region, has advised Hanover Conservancy that one hunting season will not solve the problem, Mulligan said, so hunting permits will likely be issued again in future hunting seasons.
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