Deer Damage Management Program

Deer Damage Management Program

2022/23 Site-Specific Deer Damage Management Plan for Rutgers Ecological Preserve

The managed hunting program within the EcoPreserve will take place from September 10, 2022 through February 18, 2023.


            There is an over population of White Tail Deer across central New Jersey, as well as in the Rutgers Ecological Preserve (RUEP) located on the Livingston Campus of Rutgers University.  Unchecked populations of deer can cause damage to the plant life and causing a danger to vehicles traveling on the perimeter roads.  In an attempt to lower the population of deer, a deer management program was instituted in the Fall of 2012. This management plan is modeled after the successful deer damage management plan employed on other New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) lands. The plan has been reviewed and approved by the members of a Deer Management Advisory Committee which includes participation from RU Police Department, Office of Risk Management, and Facilities Management, as well as by the RU EcoPreserve Advisory Committee and the Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Conservation officers of the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife also monitor the conduct of the hunt to ensure that all relevant NJ hunting regulations are followed.

Management Goal:

The long term goal is to reduce the high level of deer browsing pressure such that we see a significant increase in the amount and diversity of native understory vegetation and regeneration of tree seedlings/saplings to replace overstory trees killed due to disease, pests and storm damage.  This will require sustained management every year. Initial indications from the nearly ten years of management are that the vegetation community in the EcoPreserve is responding positively. Secondary goals are to reduce the damage to landscape plantings on Livingston Campus, as well as neighboring properties and to reduce deer-vehicle collisions on Livingston Campus.

Deer Reduction Goal:

As the broader goal is to keep the deer population in check, the emphasis on the hunt is to reduce the population of reproducing females, though males (bucks) may also be taken secondarily. The annual goal to remove at a minimum 35 antlerless deer, mostly mature does, from the EcoPreserve which is consistent with recommendations in the Fish & Wildlife Landowner Guide.  As the game regulations allow for the harvesting of unlimited does, one per day during the regular archery season, this goal should be met.  The managed hunting program within the EcoPreserve and  outlying properties on Livingston and Busch Campus will take place during New Jersey’s regular archery hunting season between September  through February.


The EcoPreserve will not be open to general recreational hunting. Access will be restricted to a small number of state-licensed, vetted and permitted bow hunters who will enter through Rutgers property at a location designated by the university.  This deer population reduction program will rely on ‘in-season’ bow hunting only.  This includes long, recurve, compound, and crossbow.  The erection of temporary elevated tree stands, ground blinds and the use of bait will be permitted.  With bow hunting most shots will be from a tree stand angling towards the ground.  This method of hunting is extremely safe with regard to missed shots or unwanted deflections.

During this program only a restricted area within the EcoPreserve further than the 150′ away from recreational trails and roads will be opened for hunting.  The state of New Jersey regulation mandates a buffer of 150′ from roads and occupied buildings. This land is located within DMZ 36 of the NJDFW regulations (

During the active hunting periods outlined above, the specified management program zones will be closed to public access. Please see map below.  During this period, we request that visitors to the EcoPreserve stay on marked trails and keep pets leashed (as they should be the rest of the year).  Signs will be posted at the RUEP trailheads and other locations within the RUEP informing the public that a deer management program is in progress.

Hunter Selection:

Hunter Selection:

Bow hunters will be given permission to hunt under the supervision and direction of Stanley Obryk, who coordinate the NJAES deer management program. Each hunter will be required to shoot their bow to demonstrate their proficiency and safety. Mr. Obryk will maintain a list of the experienced bow hunters that have permission to hunt, and they will be the only individuals permitted to hunt this land. You can contact Mr Obryk by email: to get on the waiting list. Rutgers employees and local residents of the preserve will be given priority.

Further Information:

For further information about the RU Ecological Preserve Deer Damage Management Plan go to RUEP Deer Damage Management Plan FAQ

To contact Dr. Richard Lathrop, EcoPreserve Faculty Director at 848 932 1580 or email

Hunting Zone Map: Please note that the Dates for 2022-2023 Season are September 10, 2022 through February 18, 2023