Results of Essex County’s deer management program for the Hilltop Reservation

Over 6 afternoons, sharpshooters removed 52 deer from an area smaller than one-half square mile in size. Wildlife biologists, ecologists and nature preserve managers recommend keeping deer density down to 20 or fewer per square mile in order to allow the forest to regenerate over time and gradually achieve a more balanced, stable and resilient ecosystem. That target density of less than 20 per square mile means we should have no more than 10 deer in the entire Hilltop property. The County was able to remove more than 5 times that recommended number. We are seeing less browse damage than in the past and certain plant and animal species are being observed more often in the Hilltop, so the deer program is definitely making a difference. We will continue to support efforts to further reduce the deer population, and to restore the health of the Hilltop’s forest.


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