Local hiking sites will be closed during next few months for deer hunting – check schedule before you go

Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

The Mercer County Park Commission has been issued a Community Based Deer Management permit from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The Community Based Deer Management (CBDM) permit allows for additional opportunities to improve forest habitat and the ecological condition of County-owned natural areas through deer reductions beyond standard state hunting regulations. Reducing deer overpopulation also improves public safety by reducing deer-vehicle collisions.  

No CBDM hunting will occur in areas that participate in the County’s traditional deer management hunting program until after the regular season concludes. 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, Howell Farm, County-owned golf courses including Mountain View, Hopewell Valley, Mercer Oaks East and West, 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 park closures for culling outside of the traditional State hunting season through March 31, 2023. As with the Park Commission’s traditional deer management program, there will be no culling permitted on Sundays under the CBDM permit.

At Mercer Meadows, CBDM deer management will be limited to the Curlis Woods region. Beginning February 20, these areas will allow for bow culling Monday through Saturday until 9 p.m. each day until March 31. These regions will remain open to the public during bow hunting. Park users are advised to remain on trails and wear bright colored clothing. All culling activity will take place from an elevated tree stand with a 75-foot safety buffer in place on either side of all County-recognized trails.

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

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays from February 21 through March 30

At Baldpate Mountain, including Fiddler’s Creek Preserve, the permit allows for extended evening culling (until 9 p.m.)  February 20 through March 31, once the regular state hunting season ends. Beginning on Monday, February 20, bow culling may take place Monday through Saturday, from sunrise to 9 p.m. until March 31. These areas will remain open to the public on days when only bow is in use. The parks will be closed to the public during shotgun culling.

Baldpate Mountain, and Fiddler’s Creek Preserve will BE CLOSED to the public for shotgun culling on:

  • Wednesdays from February 22 through March 29

At Belle Mountain, the permit allows for extended evening culling (until 9 p.m.), Beginning on Monday, February 20, bow culling may take place Monday through Saturday, from sunrise to 9 p.m. until March 31. The park will be closed to the public during shotgun culling.

Belle Mountain will BE CLOSED to the public for shotgun culling on:

  • Mondays and Tuesdays from February 20 through March 31

At County golf courses including Mountain View, Hopewell Valley, the permit allows for evening culling (until 9 p.m.) January 1 through March 31. Beginning in January, bow culling may take place Monday through Saturday, from sunrise to 9 p.m. until March 31. At the Mercer Oaks East and West golf courses, culling with a bow may occur starting February 19 through March 31. The golf courses will be closed to the public during shotgun culling.

Golf courses will BE CLOSED to the public for shotgun culling during the courses’ routine closure to the public. See below:

  • Mountain View and Hopewell Valley closed January 1 through January 31
  • Mercer Oaks East closed February 20 through February 28

At Howell Farm, the permit allows for extended evening culling (sunset through 9 p.m.) January 30 through March 31. Beginning in January, bow culling may take place Monday through Friday, from sunrise to 9 p.m. until March 31. Shotgun culling may occur after daily operations cease at Howell Farm at 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Howell Farm will BE CLOSED to the public for shotgun culling:

  • Mondays January 30 through March 31
  • Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. through 9 p.m. January 30 through March 31

The above dates do not include closures as part of the Park Commission’s existing deer management program. Please visit https://www.mercercounty.org/departments/park-commission for details on all closures for deer management.

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