- Advertisement -

Letter: We Must Still Manage Our Deer Population


Share post:

- Advertisement -

To the Editor:

Essex County has concluded its 2019 deer management program in the Hilltop Reservation, removing 99 deer from this 284-acre nature preserve.

Forest ecologists and wildlife biologists recommend a target deer density of about 20 per square mile (1 sq mi = 640 acres) to maintain a healthy, balanced ecosystem where all wildlife, not just deer, can flourish. So the Hilltop’s target deer population should be fewer than 10 — and yet the County harvested more than 9 times that number in one season. There have been small signs of improvement since the program was begun in the Hilltop — more native shrub and tree seedlings are surviving to maturity, and more songbirds are being observed. But it will take a generation of maintaining a reduced deer population for the Reservation’s ecosystem to recover from past decades of high deer numbers and resulting browse damage.

Deer flourish in suburbia with its year-round food supply and no natural predators. The Hilltop is surrounded by 10 square miles of suburban housing (Verona, Cedar Grove and North Caldwell), and since those towns are currently doing nothing to control their own herds, the deer population is being reduced in just 5% of the overall area. Well-fed deer are very fertile and can double their herd size in under four years — that means what might have been 100 or so deer scattered across our three towns 10 years ago now exceeds 500.

Without predators, those town herds will continue to eat, reproduce and increase in number. Some periodically spill over / move into the Hilltop Reservation, and then become subject to Essex County’s program. But until the town leadership acts, we will continue to see more and more deer in our backyards and in our streets.

Theresa Trapp, Treasurer
Hilltop Conservancy, Inc.

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Related articles

Register Now For Kids Mountain Bike Race

The Hilltop Grasshopper Kids Bike Race, a youth mountain bike race started by Verona residents more than a...

UNICO Presents Scholarships, Member Awards

The Verona Chapter of UNICO National, the nation’s largest Italian-American service organization, is pleased to announce the recipients...

Library Features Multimedia Artist Wendy Born

The Verona Public Library is featuring multimedia artworks by local artist Wendy Born through the end of August....

Patricia Lee Smith, 77

Patricia Lee Smith, a lifelong resident of Verona, passed away on June 3, 2023, at the age of...
- Advertisement -
error: Content is protected !!