WESTFIELD, NJ — Bow hunters bagged 20 deer in Westfield as part of Union County’s annual deer hunt this past winter, the town administrator said Tuesday.

The hunters killed 16 deer in Brightwood Park and four in the area of Lamberts Mill Road, Town Administrator Jim Gildea said at Tuesday's virtual council meeting.

“There were no deer running beyond the limits of those areas,” Gildea said. “It was very quiet.”

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In December, the council had approved Westfield’s participation the county program. Council members voted 6-2 in favor of the hunt in the 44-acre Brightwood Park and also at the Westfield Conservation Center. It was a decision that then prompted significant public debate.

Gildea said that although the plan approved by the council had called for hunting inside the Conservation Center, the hunters moved that portion of the hunt to a nearby area also located just off of Lamberts Mill Road.

“They moved down the street on Lamberts Mill road very close to the Conservation Center,” Gildea said. The hunters, he said, gained the approval of neighboring residents in Scotch Plains.

Gildea said that during the harvest vandals damaged some hunting equipment that had been set up in Brightwood Park.

The bow hunt in Westfield was permitted to happen over the course 33 days between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14 and occurred as part of a county program of hunting at eight Union County parks located in 14 municipalities.

Westfield officials had then said that a rise in deer associated vehicular crashes, residents’ exposure to Lyme disease and deer destroying plants and shrubs on residential properties necessitated the deer hunt.

Residents protesting the hunt had raised concerns that the deer hunters might have to go on nearby residential properties. Councilman David Contract, however, said Tuesday that was not an issue.

“There were no residential complaints,” said Contract, who had advocated for the hunt. “There was very little interaction with people.”

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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