Wednesday, January 21, 2015

South Mountain and Hilltop Reservations to Close for Deer Hunt

The Essex County Deer Management Program hunt is coming to two Essex County parks in the next several weeks. The hunt will start at South Mountain Reservation in Millburn, Maplewood, and West Orange on Tuesday, January 27 and February 3 and Thursdays, January 29 and February 5. The hunt will continue at Hilltop Reservation and the former Essex County Hospital Center in Verona and Cedar Grove on Tuesdays, February 17 and 24 and Thursdays, February 19 and 26. All hunts will only take place in the afternoon hours. 

“Emotionally I am against culling deer", said Freeholder Patricia Sebold, "but intellectually I know it’s the right thing to do if we want to save our reservations".

All hunters are volunteers who are state licensed and have completed an orientation program. During the hunts, marksmen will station themselves in trees at least 20 feet above the ground. Both parks will be closed to the public for the entire day of each hunt. During the Hilltop Reservation hunt, part of Fairview Avenue will be closed to traffic. During the South Mountain Reservation hunt, all major county roads will remain open, as will the Turtle Back Zoo, Codey Arena, Park-N-Ride, and McCloone's Boathouse.

According to Essex County, all killed deer will be inspected at a check station before being transported to Hillside's Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

Mills and Eagle Rock Reservations will not be included in the hunt.

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