ALLENDALE - Wildlife experts say the state's deer population is exploding, and some are proposing an extreme measure to control it.

At the Celery Farm Nature Preserve in Allendale, they estimate there are about 50 deer on the 100-acre site. Just 30 years ago, there were none. 

Mike Limatola, the warden of the preserve, says the huge number of deer is throwing the ecosystem out of balance. "They eat all of the ground plants, the wildflowers and plants that other animals survive on," he says.

Squirrels, birds and chipmunks now have to find other places to eat and nest.

Limatola says the population of deer is so out-of-control that the only way to get a handle on it would be to do a bow hunt on the property of the preserve. But not everybody thinks that is the best approach.

"I would be against it," says Tom Blundetto, a local runner. "I would agree with relocating some if that were possible. But don't kill them, I would not do that." 

But Tom White, whose plants have been decimated by deer, says something needs to be done. "My guess is that the numbers have gotten out of whack," he says. 

However, as far as how to control the population, White acknowledges it "seems to be a pretty contentious debate."

The ultimate decision about a possible deer hunt rests in the hands of the borough council.