Those occurred during just two days at the reservation, Jan. 19 and 26. There were also another 31 live deer and 22 unborn deer killed in nearby Hilltop Reservation.
Hunters who take part in the program are allowed to keep a limited amount of the deer they hunt, with the remainder donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. The program is done to reduce the deer population that can spread disease and cause accidents, with more than 200 deer carcasses found on county roads in 2016.
“Controlling the population by removing deer from South Mountain and Hilltop has proven to be very successful in helping to preserve the forest habitat and maintain our reservations as viable resources for recreation and open space. Each year, we have updated our program to address current conditions, reducing the number of days and transitioning into a ‘maintenance mode’ to maintain the population at a manageable level,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said in a statement. “This is just one facet of our comprehensive deer management program that also includes creating seed banks to accelerate the re-growth of the forests and installing reflectors and lights to enhance traffic safety by keeping deer from entering the roadway.”