UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Union County's 2016 deer management program is underway.

The county will remove deer from several parks in order to bring the population densities down to levels that are more in balance with the ecosystems (with a specific goal density of 20 deer/sq. mi. or less). Forty individuals will be selected from among experienced, licensed hunters who have demonstrated a proficiency in marksmanship. Many of them have previously participated in this program.

Removal will take place from Jan. 2 to Feb. 13, 2016, at the following parks:

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  • Watchung Reservation: 87 deer (Berkeley Hts., Scotch Plains, Springfield, Mountainside, and Summit)
  • Lenape and Nomahegan Parks: 145 deer (Cranford, Westfield, Springfield, Union, and Kenilworth)
  • Passaic River Park: 5 deer (Summit)
  • Ash Brook Reservation and Oak Ridge Park: 71 deer (Clark and Scotch Plains)
  • Hawk Rise Sanctuary: 14 deer (Linden)

The goals of the program are to prevent over-browsing of native vegetation in the park areas and allow forest regeneration, minimize browsing of residential landscaping , and reduce the incidence of deer-related motor vehicle accidents. Hunters selected for the program are required to purchase a 2016 hunting license at their own expense.

Following the conclusion of the deer management program, Union County Parks prohibit traditional hunting.