Deer population becoming more active in New Jersey
As you travel around New Jersey this spring, you'll be seeing more deer, and that is always a reason for caution, according to experts.
Dan Roberts, senior wildlife biologist and acting Deer Project leader with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, said deer in the state are more active in these early weeks of spring.
"It was a tough winter," he said. "If you're seeing them, they were there before, but they are now more evident as they're searching for food sources -- be it flowers or green growth and, of your herbaceous food sources out there, trees that are budding."
Roberts said deer do not hibernate the way bears in the state do, but they do seek shelter in extreme cold and snow, and many are now hungry. That means they will move around to find something to eat wherever they can locate it. With spring gardens slow to bloom this year, deer in the Garden State are moving quite a bit.
So, it is "always a good time to keep your eyes open, especially at dawn and dusk," Roberts warned motorists, saying those times of day -- similar to peak mating intervals in the fall -- are when New Jersey deer most frequently forage for food. With poorer light in the early morning and late evening, however, spotting the animals can be a real problem for drivers.
The deer hunting season of this past fall and winter is coming to an end, according to Roberts, who reminds residents that in New Jersey, there is no hunting activity in the spring and summer. Hunting starts up again in September, in about two-thirds of the state, and runs through February.
"At this point in time, there is usually a cessation to even a culling opportunity in the select towns that do have programs," Roberts said.