Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced yesterday the county plans to bring back last year’s controversial deer hunt in South Mountain Reservation. The pesky, profligate deer population continue to imperil the natural ecosystem of their own habitat, maintain county officials. Detractors aside, DiVincenzo made it known that he’s got the support of the Audubon Society and South Mountain Conservancy for the Deer Management Program.
Rules of the hunt: dates proposed are Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 27 to February 26, 2009. Twenty qualified marksmen will hang out in trees 20 feet above the ground. There’s no limit to the number of deer that can be shot, and they hope to top last year’s cull of 213 deer by another hundred.
This summer, the county kicked off a pilot traffic safety program along a three-mile stretch of Cherry Lane that cuts through South Mountain Reservation. “Deer Deter,” a new device emitting a high frequency noise, scares deer away from traffic. The noise sounds off when sensors detect the headlights of approaching vehicles.
Specific plans to revitalize the forest ecology includes 90 fenced-in areas and creating a 14-acre deer exclosure using fencing from the old County deer paddock off Crest Drive.