Sharpshooters begin targeting deer in Essex County

Sharpshooters began a 10-day hunt in Essex County Tuesday to reduce its deer population.

The hunt is taking place inside the South Mountain Reservation, which borders several towns in the county. Up to 12 sharpshooters will be positioned in trees at a given time throughout the reservation. According to Essex County Executive Joe Divincenzo, the goal of the hunt is to thin the deer population by 150.

Divincenzo says deer destroy vegetation, spread Lyme disease and cause many car accidents. He adds that he should have started the hunt 12 years ago.

Critics of the plan say there are less deer in the woods than officials claim and the sharpshooters pose a danger to those who live nearby.

So far, sharpshooters have killed at least 50 deer.

The hunt will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays until Feb. 28.

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