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Sixth Deer-Culling Season Ends, Will Continue in 2014

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced the county's deer management program was successful and will continue.

Trained marksmen were responsible for killing 152 deer at two reservations as part of the sixth year of Essex County’s deer management program, county officials announced Wednesday.

The program, which ended last week, will continue into 2014, County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said at a press conference to discuss the program at the South Mountain Reservation.

"There's no question for the last six years this program has been very successful," DiVincenzo said. "This will program will continue next year."

This comes a year after DiVincenzo announced the continuation of the deer management program this year was under discussion by the county. 

However, the county did scale back the program from last year's 24 hunting sessions in 12 days to nine sessions in six days.

According to county records, 43 deer and 19 unborn deer were culled from the South Mountain Reservation and 61 deer and 29 unborn deer from the Hilltop Reservation. There was no hunting this year at Eagle Rock Reservation.

The program, which ran from Jan. 22 to Feb. 7, involved 15 licensed and specially trained hunters, down seven participants from last year, county officials said.

The deer management program aims to control deer population and restore undergrowth destroyed by deer to prevent future erosion in the reservations. Previously, the county’s wildlife management consultant Daniel Bernier explained the reservations should have five deer per square mile to allow the forest to properly regenerate.

The county will have spotlight counts late March to early April to evaluate this year's program and create projections for next year, Bernier said.

Since 2008, more than 1,500 deer have been culled from the three reservations, according to statistics provided by county officials. In 2012, 274 deer were removed, 339 deer were removed in 2011, 252 in 2010, 138 in 2009 and 360 in 2008.

Part of the venison was collected and donated to the New Jersey Food Bank to feed the homeless and the needy, Bernier said.

Hunters who worked at least six shifts were given 40 pounds of venison.

Mike Waters February 13, 2013 at 11:39 PM
I think the deer are catching on. Last night around 8:00 there must have been at least a dozen deer walking up the middle of the street past my house toward the "hilltop reservation". It's like they went away for the week that the hunt was going on and were coming back from vacation.
Adam Kraemer February 14, 2013 at 11:29 AM
The vast majority of the people take no joy in seeing the deer killed like this. However it is a needed policy for the sustainability of the land at issue and the right thing to do in terms of public health and public safety. No other practical and affordable way to manage the deer exists. Also, the food bank of New Jersey will be able to use the deer to help feed poor people. Thus, kudos to the county Executive and County Freeholder for doing what is right despite the controversy.
Tom G. February 14, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Mike - you're right. I live right next to the Eagle Rock reservation and I have seen more deer this year than I ever have in the past. And they seem to be traveling in large packs rather than lone deer. The deer must know the hunt was not taking place at Eagle Rock this year!
Laura Azarowicz February 16, 2013 at 09:27 PM
First of all it is apparent there has not been enough research done. KILLING deer is not the answer. Every time a herd is diminished the females will produce more offspring to bring the numbers back up. As far as safety,regarding accidents, some factors here and possible resolutions: The first is the speed in which drivers go in deer areas that are posted, they don't slow down. There are specific lights that deter deerthat can be used. Fencing is another way, other states have found this to help greatly. Now if ticks are a factor, don't walk your dogs in the wooded area, and many people do. Frontline your dogs/cats monthly, even in winter. Another recommendation are bait stations, this apparatus rolls pesticides on the deer which gets distributed throughout the acres of land and kills 95% of ticks. By the way when you kill these deers, you just left any ticks on them to roam again and maybe use a person for their host, think about that. I personally would rather have them on the deer. One last thing, it costs six figures for these deer kills, don't you think that money could be allocated to something more important. Here's an interesting fact, there is something called Geese Peace which protects Canadian geese, Mr. DiVincenzo is all for it. Geese which carry ticks and destroys baseball fields and just makes everything a mess, what is that all about? Laura Azarowicz
Laura Azarowicz February 16, 2013 at 09:36 PM
That's why acreage after acreage has been destroyed to build new mega homes. Do they care about flora and fauna, no just the money they make by selling to Hovnanian. There are other ways to manage deer. As for feeding the poor, they have enough problems one of them doesn't need to have lead laced venison. The biggest factor, is we the people, just take all the land from these animals and they have no choice but to roam aimlessly into people's backyards. We are changing the course of nature with greed and over development. There is something drastically wrong when there are deer walking the neighborhood sidewalks. Laura Azarowicz
Pete February 17, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I'm pleased to see that the meat is being used, rather than just discarded. Congratulations to local government for making intelligent, reasoned (rather than emotional) decisions.
Pete February 17, 2013 at 03:29 PM
A few inconvenient facts: Deer ticks only reside on deer for the last part of their life-cycle, after mating but before producing eggs. The intermediate vector -- the one that carries the nymphal and young-adult stages that transmit the disease to humans -- is the MOUSE. So culling the deer won't leave thousands of hungry ticks out there, lusting for your flesh. The bait stations may well work, and if they kill the ticks before they lay eggs, so much to the good. Geese ? Why, then, do they call them "DEER" ticks ? Never heard that geese support Borrelia ticks.
Danielle Lewis February 17, 2013 at 06:06 PM
I am all against killing animals just to kill them but they aren't killing the deer because one day they woke up and said "hmm I'm bored. lets go out and kill deer." No. They are doing it because they are well over populated. I see deer every single night from Mount Pleasant Ave in Livingston to Liberty Middle School and all the way to Prospect Ave. There were about 6 or 7 deer on my street and lawn last night. I also got into a severe car accident because of 5 deer and was almost killed. A lot of people have hit deer and its not safe.They just run out in front of you from nowhere. You have to be very alert while driving so that you don't hit a deer. So by having this deer hunt, it is making it safer for drivers and just for everyone in general.
Anja Heister February 26, 2013 at 06:28 PM
These urban deer killings are conducted to please the hunting community, who is concerned about declining hunting numbers, and an increase in people speaking out against senseless massacres of urban deer. Every idiot can shoot (wound or fatally kill) a deer, but not everyone can wrap their head around an intelligent, humane and effective solution such as immunocontraceptiva for deer. The high numbers of urban deer are a human-caused problem with state wildlife agencies being the culprits as they have been purposely feeding and breeding deer as "food for the guns!" And now the same folks insist that killing is the answer. Well, it is not. And while urban "hunts" will continue to increase deer numbers, which is very convenient for hunters, immunocontraception addresses the real problem, which is reproduction, but this solution may just be too intelligent and too humane to be considered.
Laura Azarowicz February 27, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Ticks are very mobile and have been known to crawl down into buildings that geese are nesting near, and travel great distances to attach themselves to people.
Laura Azarowicz February 27, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Also, you will not reduce the herd, deer have been around forever. It is the destroying of their natural habitat that creates the problem. Why don't we just stop over building on every piece of land possible. Nature needs to get back in balance.

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