UNION COUNTY, NJ — Plainfield and Kean University will be included in the county’s Deer Management Program for the 2020-21 season, after a near unanimous vote at Thursday evening’s freeholder board meeting.

The deer hunt at Kean University will take place behind Liberty Hall where the University owns property that runs along the Elizabeth River, said Ron Zuber, the county’s Parks and Recreation Director. Deer have been disrupting restaurants owned by the University and tours which operate in the area, Zuber said. No hunting will take place on the main campus along Morris Avenue, he said.

Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella said that if left unchecked, the deer herds will multiply.

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“There needs to be a deer management program in a densely populated county like ours, and this is simply an expansion of that program in areas we think we can thin the herd and manage the population,” Mirabella said.

Last month, the Plainfield City Council approved its participation in the deer hunt, which will run Jan. 2 to Feb. 14, 2021, at the Cushing Road Detention Basin.

The city had participated in the county’s 2018 deer hunt program, which killed 10 deer and drew sharp criticism from the “Animal Initiative Committee of Plainfield.”

Freeholder Christopher Hudak abstained from the vote because he is employed by Kean University.

In July, the freeholders had approved funding for deer hunts in the following locations:

  • Lenape and Nomahegan Parks located in the townships of Cranford, Springfield, Union, Westfield and the borough of Kenilworth.
  • Ash Brook Reservation located in the townships of Clark and Scotch Plains
  • Oak Ridge Park located in Clark.
  • Passaic River Park located in the city of Summit
  • Hawk Rise Sanctuary and Linden Municipal Landfill located in the city of Linden
  • Watchung Reservation located in the townships of Berkeley Heights, Scotch Plains, Springfield; the boroughs of Watchung and Mountainside and the city of Summit.
  • Elizabeth River Park located in Hillside Township
  • Linden Airport located in the city of Linden
  • Galloping Hill Golf Course located Union Township
  • Reeves Reed Arboretum located in the city of Summit
  • Hidden Valley Park located in the city of Summit and Springfield Township
  • Rahway River Park located in the City of Rahway
  • County and municipal properties located in Westfield Township

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