County Sets Scaled-Back Deer Hunt


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Essex County will once again seek to thin the deer herds in county parks, but this year’s hunt will be significantly smaller than previous years.

The county will only send marksmen to South Mountain Reservation and the Hilltop Reservation between Verona, Cedar Grove and North Caldwell. Dan Bernier, a Union County parks official who advises Essex County on its hunts, said that, while the deer population in Eagle Rock Reservation remains “higher than desirable” it is not high enough to warrant the cost of conducting a hunt there.

The hunt will begin on Tuesday, January 22 in South Mountain and be held for three afternoons only: January 22, 24 and 29. South Mountain will be closed on those afternoons, but all of the county recreation facilities located around the park–such as Turtle Back Zoo and the Codey Arena–will be open.

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The Hilltop hunt will be a full-day program and it will start on January 31. The other days are Tuesday, February 5 and Thursday, February 7. The county said that on those days, Fairview Avenue will be closed from Durrell Street in Verona north to Myrtle Avenue in Cedar Grove. Detour signs will be posted.

The goal this year is to cull 115 deer from South Mountain and 80 deer from the Hilltop. The 2012 removed a total of 274 adult and unborn deer from the three county parks. Over the five years from 2008 through 2012, the county said that 1,363 deer had been killed.

County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said that the hunts have been a necessity to both reduce the number of deer-vehicle collisions and to restore the parks’ ecosystems. The number of deer killed by cars and trucks fell to 201 last year from 363 in 2008. DiVincenzo said that the county would be working with the Hilltop Conservancy, the non-profit group that maintains the park, to create a plant restoration program similar to the ones that have been enacted at South Mountain and Eagle Rock.

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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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