2019 Deer Hunt Calendar


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Park Commission plans deer management program at MCP
Mercer County, NJ sent this bulletin at 10/24/2019 05:40 PM EDT
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Park Commission to conduct second deer management program at Mercer County Park
WEST WINDSOR—The Mercer County Park Commission will conduct a deer management program at Mercer County Park for the second year in a row, on select days from Oct. 26, 2019, through Feb. 15, 2020. This program is a method for reducing the overabundant deer herd in the park. This deer management program is open only to those licensed New Jersey hunters who were selected by the Park Commission to participate.
The Park Commission’s Stewardship Department has monitored the increasing deer population at Mercer County Park with conservative estimates of 104 deer per square mile in the birthing season. Due to severe deer browse there has been a lack of regeneration of trees, which has negatively affected the forest. In December 2017, 200 red oak seedlings were planted in various regions of the park by Stewardship staff; in June 2018, staff found that more than 75 percent of those seedlings had been eaten by the park’s local deer population. Results of this study pose a threat to the overall forest health and habitat value for other wildlife.
The Park Commission will maintain hunting in the three regions in Mercer County Park that were implemented last year in order to minimize the impact on park users: Oaks Golf (the two Mercer Oaks golf courses), Lake North (the wooded area between the Caspersen Rowing Center and the East Picnic Area on the north shore of Mercer Lake) and Lake South (the wooded areas between the lake’s southern shore and Paxson Avenue). Hunters will adhere to all state regulations regarding safety zones surrounding park buildings, playgrounds and facilities or parking areas – a 150-foot radius for bow hunting and a 450-foot radius for firearm hunting. There is an additional 600-foot safety zone surrounding the campground until it closes on Nov. 15. All program activity will be limited to wooded areas with no activity taking place within a 75-foot perimeter of any marked trail. There is no shooting across park trails.
Firearms will be used only when the park is closed to the public: Mercer Oaks West in January, Mercer Oaks East in February, and the Lake North region Monday through Thursday, Dec. 9 through 31, and Monday through Saturday, Jan. 1 through Feb. 8. No use of firearms will be permitted in the Lake South region. For a detailed overview and information regarding each region of the park, visit the Deer Management page on the Park Commission website, or click here.
Stewardship staff will work with hunters to promote the donation of venison to Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH), a nonprofit organization that works with butchers, hunters and food banks. Last season, 79 deer from the Mercer County Park Pilot Program (57 percent of total harvest) were donated, providing approximately 11,692 servings of venison to local food pantries. A total of 112 deer were donated throughout all County programs, equivalent to 4,144 pounds of meat and 16,576 servings of venison. The Park Commission has set aside funding to cover the donation fee at the local game butcher during this year’s program.
The Park Commission’s deer management programs are held annually to improve the health of forest ecosystems within the parks and in coordination with regional efforts to reduce the overpopulation of white-tailed deer in central New Jersey. The programs comply with all hunting regulations set by the State of New Jersey. To learn more about the project scope and benefits, please visit: http://mercercountyparks.org/#!/activities/deer-management.​

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