SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The County of Union has begun removing deer from various County and municipal park properties during January and February in an attempt to bring the deer population densities down to levels that are more in balance with the ecosystems, with a specific goal density of 20 deer per square mile or less.

The culling, which started earlier this month, will be run by the county through its Department of Parks and Recreation. During the program, the county will administer and conduct all deer management activities within the Watchung Reservation. The reservation encompasses 2065 acres, roughly 3.2 square miles, adjacent to Springfield, Berkeley Heights, Scotch Plains, Mountainside and Summit.

The purpose of the program is to remove 130 deer from Watchung Reservation. This program is designed to address a problem of population control; it is not intended to provide sport or recreational opportunities.

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This program is conducted in two components. The Archery Component, hunters will utilize crossbow archery equipment to cull deer during the Winter Bow Season. In the Shotgun Component, hunters will remove deer with shotguns during the months of January and February

The program is scheduled on the following dates for the Watching Reservation:

  • Shotgun hunting on Jan. 28, Feb. 4 – P.M. Only
  • Winter Bow Season continues through Feb. 16, Monday – Friday

The goals of this program are to prevent over browsing of native vegetation in the park areas and allow forest regeneration, minimize browsing of residential landscaping surrounding the park properties, and minimize the incidence of deer-related motor vehicle accidents. Additional benefits that could result from this program are a reduction in the incidence of Lyme disease and an increased opportunity for homeowners to use and enjoy their yards for recreating and gardening.

For more information, go to Union County Deer Management Program