NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — The Essex County Deer Management Program, designed to help control the deer population in order to preserve and restore some of the plant population in the area, is underway in Essex Country for the 10th-consecutive season.

North Caldwell Borough Mayor Joseph Alessi announced on Tuesday that that despite inclement weather, the program was able to be conducted one day last week.

“The Essex County Deer Management Program at South Mountain Reservation was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17 but was canceled due to inclement weather,” he said. “However, they were able to implement the Program on Thursday, Jan. 19 and took 35 deer.”

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The program is carried out by volunteer marksmen who have been selected to participate. All areas where the program is being conducted are closed to the public.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. said that since the program in 2008, the volunteers have removed many deer from nearby reservations, started a program to accelerate the re-growth of our forests and introduced a pilot program to reduce traffic accidents involving deer. He said in a press release that because the “over-abundance of deer affects all of our communities,” the Deer Management Program provides a comprehensive approach to address the problem.

“We have been very successful in reducing the deer population in our reservations to a manageable level, which has enabled us to transition our program from aggressively removing deer and scaling it back to where our goal is to maintain the population,” he said. “While we have made tremendous progress, it is important to continue this maintenance mode to preserve the forest habitat and maintain our reservations as viable resources for recreation and open space.”

The program for 2017 is scheduled to take place at Hilltop Reservation on Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 9, Feb. 14 and Feb. 16.

According to a press release, all deer removed from the reservation are brought to a checking station, where county officials collect information about the deer including age, gender and weight. The meat is then butchered by a state approved butcher and donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.