NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Essex County authorities announced more than 100 deer were killed during the county’s recent hunt.

The seventh annual hunt, staged this year at the South Mountain Reservation and the Hilltop Reservation, is intended to protect plant life and reduce the number of deer-related car accidents. It took place during the last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February, though it was canceled for two days due to snow.

County officials say 108 deer were killed in the hunt. That’s a slight increase from 2013, when 104 deer were culled.

The year before that, 152 deer were killed in the hunt. Meanwhile, the number of deer killed in accidents on roads fell from 363 in 2008 to 201 in 2012.

More than 1,000 deer have been killed since the hunt began in 2008.

Critics have argued the deer don’t deserve to die. County officials, however, say they’ve looked at other nonlethal methods to control the population, including fertility drugs, but the alternatives aren’t viable.

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