UPDATE: County Executive Joe DiVincenzo called Baristanet himself to let us know that while the Deer Management Program was in progress, and Fairview Avenue was closed for safety reasons, there were no shots fired and not one deer culled in Hilltop Reservation today. It seems the deer were elsewhere.
“”The snow is so deep, and there’s no food on the reservations, so the deer cross these streets regularly to enter private yards,” said DiVincenzo. The County Executive reported that he recently saw 8 deer in a yard on Bradford Avenue. “What happened this morning isn’t unusual. We see it all the time.”
He clearly stated that the deer that entered this morning’s traffic on Grove (which our reader witnessed) were not, in fact fleeing hunters — as no shots were fired today at all — but were looking for food. When asked if this situation indicated that there is a need for the county’s deer culling program, DiVincenzo agreed.
“The deer are living on people’s property and they’re starving,” he stated.
Essex County‘s Deer Management Program is in full swing on this sunny February Thursday. While the program’s three locations (South Mountain, Eagle Rock and Hilltop Reservations) are closed to the public on hunt days, there is no rule that says the deer can’t flee for their lives by leaving the designated hunting ground.
For Baristanet reader Amanda, driving by Hilltop Reservation on her way to work this morning brought her face to face with the pursued quarry. She reports that the experience was “soul shattering,” and wonders if others share her feeling and may have had similar commutes.
Due to the deer massacre (“hunt”) happening in Verona/Cedar Grove today and additional days this month, my morning commute was detoured from Fairview to Grove Street in Verona. As I was attempting to make my left hand turn onto Grove, three deer came barrelling down the hill cutting across my car, skidding into traffic – and consequently completely stopped traffic, as they ran in circles for their lives. These poor animals were not only hunted from their homes, they managed to escape the best way the could and ran straight into oncoming traffic.
I was brought to tears by their attempts to save their lives by outrunning the hunters, to have only been sent into a high traffic area where their fates will be indefinitely sealed. How ironic that I rarely see deer up on the hilltop along Fairview as it is, and today I see three deer fleeing. I know some use the arguement that deer are causing collisions and are a safety hazzard – but today was the most hazardous day on the streets of Verona that I’ve seen in years, all due to the hunt. It rattles me that so many people are able to just brush this off without thinking beyond their personal day to day lives and not the unnecessary and inhumane method of number control.
County Executive Joe DiVincenzo has previously said that while the hunt is a very controversial and emotional issue, reducing the number of deer is part of an ongoing initiative by the administration to preserve and restore the forest ecology in Essex County’s open spaces. DiVincenzo has noted that the program is beginning to yield positive results and that the county adapts it to the changing conditions in each reservation.
Has anyone else encountered hunt refugees in traffic? Where does Baristaville stand on the hunt? Take our poll and share your deer encounters in comments.
Photo from Wikipedia.