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81 Deer Killed In Hilltop Hunt
Essex County is saying this morning that 155 adult and unborn deer were “removed” from the South Mountain and Hilltop reservations during the county’s Deer Management Program in January and February, 81 of which from the Hilltop park, which covers Verona and Cedar Grove.
Most of the Hilltop deer, which included 56 adults and 25 unborn deer, were killed during the first day of the hunt there on February 4. That was down from 2013, when 61 deer and 29 unborn deer were culled. One day of the Hilltop hunt was cancelled by snow, as was one day at South Mountain. The seven-year-old program uses expert marksmen to reduce the herds in Essex County parks.
“The overabundance of deer continues to affect of our communities, and our program provides a comprehensive approach to address the problem,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. in a prepared statement. “During the past seven years, we have conducted a culling program to maintain the size of the deer herd, started a program to accelerate the re-growth of our forests and introduced a pilot program to reduce traffic accidents involving deer. Snowstorms and frigid temperatures caused us to reduce the number of days this year, but the results we saw indicate how important it is to continue so that we can preserve the forest habitat and maintain our reservations as viable resources for recreation and open space.”
From 2008 to 2014, a total of 1,670 deer (1,030 deer and 640 unborn deer) have removed from the three reservations. Since 2008, almost 31,000 pounds of venison from the program have been donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, including 2,577 pounds this year. That equates to about 124,000 meals.
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