Hunting will take place in five county parks and one municipal park on Mondays through Feb. 5, according to a release from the county. Hunters will be in the parks from 5 a.m. until after dark, but shooting may occur only during daylight hours.
Parks will remain open during the program and the county advised the public to stay on the marked hiking, walking and bridle trails and to keep pets on a leash.
The county cited a recommendation by forest ecologists to maintain a density of 20 deer per square mile in a healthy hardwood forest. A study conducted by the county in April suggested densities this winter of about 53 deer per square mile in the Watchung Reservation; 106 per square mile in and around Ash Brook Reservation, and more than 200 per square mile in and around Lenape and Nomahegan Parks.
Not only does the higher deer population result in a greater number of deer-car collisions, but overbrowsing by deer threatens native plants recently planted.
The parks include:
- Watchung Reservation
- Nomahegan Park
- Lenape Park
- Ash Brook Reservation
- Passaic River Park
- Hawk Rise Sanctuary