UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Union County’s state-regulated deer management program began on Monday in four County parks and one municipal park, including the Watchung Reservation and Ash Brook Reservation, which span through parts of Scotch Plains.

The six-week hunting program – which will be supervised by the Union County Police and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife – is in full effect in the designated areas on January 5, 12, 21, and 26 and February 2 and 9. Hunters will be in the parks from 5:00 a.m. until after dusk, but shooting may occur only during daylight hours.

Neither Watchung Reservation nor Ash Brook Reservation will be closed during this hunt. Park visitors are urged to stay on the marked hiking, walking and bridle trails. Since 1995, marksmen have reduced the population of white-tailed deer in the Watchung Reservation substantially. Deer hunting was introduced at the Ash Brook Reservation in 2005.

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According to the NJ Audobon Society, white-tailed deer can have significant negative effects on forest health, species composition, and economic development when the population is unbalanced. When managed properly, hunting is the most effective means of controlling white-tailed deer populations. (Although they can effectively control herbivory damage, deer exclosures, seedling protection, and chemical repellents do not control the population.) 

For more information, visit www.ucnj.org/deer or contact the Union Co. Department of Parks and Recreation at (908) 789-3682 and by email at deer@ucnj.org.  Hunters interested in joining the deer management program in future years can submit their applications through the website. To apply for a deer hunting license, click here