Please be advised that the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has again authorized a Union County Deer Management Program, to be conducted in 2018-19 in seven Union County parks and two municipal parks.
This program continues the annual removal of deer by marksmen, selected by and acting as agents of the County, at the Watchung Reservation (City of Summit; Borough of Mountainside; Townships of Berkeley Heights, Springfield, and Scotch Plains), Passaic River Park (City of Summit), Nomahegan Park (Township of Cranford), Lenape Park (Borough of Kenilworth; Townships of Cranford, Springfield and Union; Town of Westfield), Ash Brook Reservation (Townships of Clark and Scotch Plains), Oak Ridge Park (Townships of Clark and Edison), and the City of Linden’s Hawk Rise Sanctuary.
An archery program that was conducted for the first time in early 2018 at the Cushing Road Detention Basin (City of Plainfield) has now been incorporated into the County program. Complaints about deer impacts from residents have resulted in the inclusion of Elizabeth River Park (Township of Hillside), as well.
As you will see in the attached Program Guidelines, the Union County Deer Management Program has been expanded to include more parks and an archery component.
The County has prepared an application for submittal to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for a Community Based Deer Management Plan. Approval of that plan would allow a return to the type of shotgun program conducted from 1995 to 2012. The elimination of bag limits and buck restrictions could significantly increase the deer harvest, without an increased impact on park users.
The shotgun hunting schedule for 2018-19 has been revised, from what had been 5 full days to 2 full days and 6 afternoons, one day per week, in January and February. The shotgun program will occur in 5 parks – the Watchung Reservation, Lenape Park, Ash Brook Reservation, Oak Ridge Park and the Hawk Rise Sanctuary and Linden Municipal Landfill. Hunting in all of those parks will occur on Mondays from January 7 to March 1. In the event of a holiday (January 21) or inclement weather on a Monday, the hunting activity will be moved to Wednesday of that week. Inclement weather on Wednesday would push the program to Friday.
The archery component will involve hunters using crossbows following all NJ Division of Wildlife rules and regulations, etc.
Bow hunting can occur on weekdays, morning and afternoon, between October 1 and December 31 (66 days total) in the Watchung Reservation, Lenape Park, Ash Brook Reservation, Oak Ridge Park, Passaic River Park in Summit, and the Hawk Rise Sanctuary and Linden Municipal Landfill. It will also be conducted on weekdays, morning and afternoon, from January 1 to February 16 (34 days total) in the Acadia Arboretum section of the Watchung Reservation in Scotch Plains and Mountainside, Passaic River Park in Summit, Nomahegan Park, Elizabeth River Park in Hillside and the Cushing Road Detention Basin in Plainfield (afternoons only)
Costs for this deer management program will be borne by the County of Union and the individual hunters. There will be no costs to the affected municipalities, though we certainly hope that your residents will experience relief from deer impacts as a result of these programs. Some of the venison that will derive from this program will be used to feed the needy and the homeless through the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (Hillside) or the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program (Philipsburg, Neptune and Pennsauken).
The attached Program Guidelines explain the deer management program in greater detail. I would ask that you please share this information with your Mayor and other elected officials, Police Chief, Superintendent of Schools and any other staff as you deem appropriate.
The attached postcard will be mailed out via the U.S. Postal Service to all property owners within 200 feet of any of the 9 affected parks. For program details, you can also go directly to the Deer page of the Union County website at www.ucnj.org/deer.