A total of 274 deer were removed from South Mountain, Hilltop and Eagle Rock Reservations during the 2012 Essex County Deer Management Program, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced at a press conference today. That is fewer than the 339 deer that were culled from the reservations in 2011.
In a press release issued after the conference, DiVincenzo was quoted as saying: “Our Deer Management Program is a comprehensive approach to addressing the deer population in our reservations. The culling program held in January and February has helped us reduce the herd in our reservations to manageable levels. An aggressive planting program has helped to stimulate the regrowth of plant life in our forests. And, the installation of unique devices that reflect light and emit a high pitched noise along several heavily trafficked county roadways is helping to limit the number of motor vehicle accidents involving deer.”
The County Executive continued: “The goal of our program was not to eliminate deer from our reservations, but to reduce the population to a manageable level. The results from the last five years have shown us that the work we have done to reduce the deer population has worked.”
Next, the county will conduct an aerial survey and spotlight count in the three reservations to determine the size of the deer population. Based on those results, the decision will be made to continue the program or suspend it in 2013. “We know we have reduced the population and conducting the surveys will determine what we will do in the future. Our decision will be based on the numbers we get back,” the County Executive noted.