County Deer Hunt To Emphasize Hilltop


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Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. unveiled plans for the county’s fifth hunt to reduce the deer population on Wednesday and said that the largest contingent of hunters will be deployed to Verona’s Hilltop Reservation this year.

The deer hunt will begin next Tuesday, January 17 at South Mountain Reservation and will continue there on Tuesdays January 24 and 31 and Thursdays January 19 and 26. The focus will shift to Eagle Rock Reservation, the Hilltop and the old Essex County Hospital Center across Fairview Avenue on Thursday, February 2. The hunt at those locations will continue on Tuesdays February 7, 14 and 21 and Thursdays February 9, 16 and 23. Ten hunters will be deployed at the Hilltop/Hospital site, the largest group at any location. “We have a serious problem there and we need to address it,” DiVincenzo said. The county noted that 151 live and unborn deer were culled from the Hilltop in 2010 and 233 last year.

Since the deer program began in 2008, a total of 1,089 deer have been killed by marksmen, all volunteers. Another 1,179 have been killed on Essex County roads in vehicle collisions, despite the deployment of deterrent devices that use sound and flashing lights to deter deer from crossing the roads. Twenty of those accidents have been on Fairview Avenue in the past two years, and another three on Lakeside; a deer was killed Tuesday night on Lakeside just past the southern end of Verona Park.

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The county executive stressed that the reduction of the deer population is making it possible for the county to revive plant, tree and wildlife habitats in the reservations. The county has set up 42 fenced areas at South Mountain and five at Eagle Rock, and planted them with plants that once thrived in the two parks. As the plants mature, their seeds allow the county to expand the areas to be restored, although Environmental Center Director Tara Casella noted that it will take 25 years for the parks to be restored to health. DiVincenzo said that the replanting program would be extended to the Hilltop soon, but county officials were not immediately able to say when that would begin.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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