ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County will not conduct its annual Deer Management Program to reduce the number of deer in Essex County South Mountain Reservation and Essex County Hilltop Reservation in 2021.

Other county priorities during the pandemic were cited as the reason. “Our energy and manpower are being focused on offering our expanded COVID testing schedule and weekly Emergency Food Distribution events, as well as creating plans to administer COVID vaccines when they become available. These are challenging times, and our attention will be placed on making sure our residents have access to programs that keep them safe, healthy and protected,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said.

Essex County has conducted the Deer Management Program since 2008. The program consists of reducing the number of deer in the herd at Essex County South Mountain Reservation and Essex County Hilltop Reservation, installing reflectors along county roadways to prevent motor vehicle accidents with deer and a forest regeneration initiative in which natural plant species are allowed to thrive in enclosed areas where they act as seed banks for other parts of the reservation.