Thursday, January 27, 2011

Deer Management Program Hunts Continue in February

Deer management controlled hunts continue in NJ January and February.

Postcards went out in Essex County that deer-culling efforts would begin again this month and continue until February 24th. The county sees this as a cornerstone of a reforestation initiative at the South Mountain, Eagle Rock and Hilltop reservations. Oak, beech, hickory and maple stands have been damaged or destroyed by the abundance of white-tailed deer in those areas where hunting is not allowed.

In Essex, 19 licensed hunters will be in the reservations on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the reservations will be closed during those times.

The hunts have always been controversial with protests and signage appearing in many neighborhoods.

These hunts began at South Mountain in 2008 and at Eagle Rock and Hilltop last year. The hunters have taken about 750 deer. The goal is to have five deer per square mile in order for the forest to regenerate. In South Mountain, there are about 27 per square mile.

The shooters, who have passed a marksmanship test and will be paid in venison, will fire single shots from assigned perches at least 20 feet of the ground. They will be at least 450 feet from any residences.

In Union County, the hunt is in the Ash Brook Reservation and Golf Course in Scotch Plains and is to prevent destruction of forest vegetation and also to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by deer.

Eight volunteer marksmen licensed by the state will conduct the hunt, which will continue through February 12 during daylight hours and without hunting on Sundays.

A last-minute approval of an amendment to this year’s deer management plan, allows hunting in Watchung. This is the first year that Warren Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Club is conducting the hunt, but the process remains the same as in past years.

The hunt will take place on three tracts of public land and six tracts of private property. The public land includes a 19.81 tract of land on the west end of Mountain Boulevard, 9.56 acres on Sequoia Drive and 6.4 acres between Route 22 and Johnston Drive.

The private properties are located on Mountain Boulevard, Bonnie Burn Road, a parcel of land between Route 22 and Bonnie Burn Road, the west side of Bonnie Burn Road, Sequoia Drive, Ellisen Road, High Tor Drive, Old Somerset Road, Dugway and Timberline Way.

Meat butchered from the kill, which is distributed by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, provided about 23,000 meals to the needy and homeless last year. In Essex, volunteers who participate for a majority of days also receive venison as payment.

Community-Based Deer Management

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