WESTFIELD, NJ — A surplus of deer in Brightwood Park and the wooded area of the town’s Conservation Center have been gobbling up the forest understory, damaging ornamental vegetation and creating a general safety hazard, town officials said.

The Town Council is set to authorize Union County bow hunters to kill deer in Brightwood Park, the Conservation Center and wooded areas near Delaware Street, Maryland Avenue and Grandview Avenue, a resolution on the council’s agenda for Tuesday states. The hunt would take place this January and February, the resolution says.

“The Town of Westfield feels it is in the best interests of the town to evoke services of individuals who are licensed crossbow hunters to manage the deer population in the aforementioned areas during the winter January-February 2020 Deer Management Control Program administered by the County of Union,” the resolution states.

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In July, the Union County Freeholders had approved hunts in seven parks throughout Union County. The cost of administrating that program was then estimated at $20,815.

Deer hunts have been a contentious issue, including in nearby Plainfield, where city officials last year approved an eight-day bow hunt during which hunters bagged 10 deer at the Cushing Road Retention Basin. While city officials said the hunt would reduce deer-related traffic crashes, tick-borne disease and help keep deer from damaging the forest understory, the Animal Initiative Committee of Plainfield quickly called for an end to the deer cull.

If you go

The Town Council meets Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Municipal Building, 425 East Broad St., Westfield. A conference meeting is set for 7 p.m. The regular meeting starts at 8 p.m.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

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