Park Commission to implement deer management program

The Mercer County Park Commission has been approved for a Community Based Deer Management (CBDM) permit from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The CBDM permit allows for additional opportunities to improve forest understory and the overall ecological condition of natural areas through deer reductions beyond standard state hunting regulations. Reducing deer overpopulation also improves public safety by reducing deer-vehicle collisions, according to information provided by Mercer County.

The additional measures permitted in the CBDM program will allow a professional culling firm to perform management activities during an extended season through March 31 at Baldpate Mountain and select regions of Mercer Meadows in Hopewell Township.

Management activities approved in the Park Commission’s permit include deer harvest by crossbow and firearm, culling during evening hours, and periodic closures for culling outside of the traditional state hunting season through March 31.

At Mercer Meadows, only the Curlis Woods region and the Ecological District are included in the permit. Beginning in January, these areas will allow for bow culling 7 days a week, through 9 p.m. each day until March 31.

These regions will remain open to the public during this period. Park users are advised to remain on trails and wear bright colored clothing.

All culling activity will take place from an elevated tree stand and a 75-foot safety buffer is in place on either side of all county-recognized trails.

The Curlis Woods region will BE closed to the public for shotgun culling on:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 19, through Friday, Jan. 21.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 26, through Friday, Jan. 28.
  • Thursday, March 3, and Friday, March 4.
  • Thursday, March 10, and Friday, March 11.
  • Saturdays, March 5 and 12, from sunset to 9 p.m.

At Baldpate Mountain, including Belle Mountain and Fiddler’s Creek Preserve, the permit allows for extended evening culling (sunset through 9 p.m.)  Feb. 1-18, when the state hunting season ends.

Beginning on Monday, Feb. 21, bow culling may take place Monday through Friday, from sunrise to 9 p.m. until March 31.

Shotgun culling may take place beginning on Monday, Feb. 21, through March 31, 7 days a week from sunset to 9 p.m. when the park is closed to the public.

Baldpate Mountain, Belle Mountain and Fiddler’s Creek Preserve will be closed to the public for shotgun culling on:

  • Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18.
  • Thursday, March 24, and Friday, March 25.
  • Saturdays, March 19 and 26, from sunset to 9 p.m.

The above dates do not include closures as part of the Park Commission’s existing deer management program.

The deer management program complies with all of the hunting regulations set by the state; in addition, the Park Commission has adopted county rules for the program, according to the statement.

All hunting must be done from an elevated tree stand; hunters are not permitted to hunt from the ground.

There is no shooting across park trails.

Visit www.mercercountyparks.org for details on all closures for deer management.

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