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Deer Hunts to Begin at Montgomery County Parks on Oct. 22

Rockville plans to use infrared cameras to count the city's deer population.

 

Montgomery Parks will begin its deer management operations with managed hunts and park police sharpshooters at 25 parks around the county beginning Oct. 22, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announced.

The hunts will include specially trained Maryland-National Capital Park Police and pre-screened hunters selected by lottery. Managed hunts will continue through Jan. 26. 

Sharpshooting operations will be conducted when parks are closed during evening and overnight hours, from 5:30 p.m. to sunrise daily between Jan. 1 and March 31.

County parks in and around Rockville will see deer management operations conducted by sharpshooters only—and no managed hunts. The affected Rockville-area parks are:

  • Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood—including attached segments of Rock Creek Stream Valley Units 12 and 16.
  • Needwood Golf Course in Rockville.
  • North Branch Stream Valley Park Units 2 and 3 in the Norbeck Road area.
  • Rock Creek Regional Park in Rockville.
  • Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit 7 in Aspen Hill.

Click here for a complete list of park closures and for driving tips for October through December, when deer are breeding and at their most active.

Yellow and black “Park Closed” signs will be posted throughout and surrounding the parks, at park entrances, and in communities surrounding the parks in advance of the hunts.

There have been no injuries involving the public in 16 years of the managed hunts, Bill Hamilton, a Montgomery Parks wildlife ecologist, said in the release.

The county’s “patchwork of natural areas and landscaped suburban yards” provide an ideal habitat for deer, according to the Montgomery Parks Deer Management web page.

The habitat and limited hunting “provide deer the necessary sanctuary to grow unmitigated in the absence of checks and balances,” Hamilton said in the release. “The result has been an increase in deer-human conflicts including deer-related automobile accidents, damage to agricultural crops and residential gardens, and concerns about Lyme disease.”

All deer harvested during the Park Police-based Sharpshooting Operations will be donated to food banks in and near Montgomery County. The county’s deer donation program donated 222 deer providing 8,880 pounds of meat to the Capital Area Food Bank during the 2011-2012 season, according to a fiscal 2013 annual report on the county’s deer management operations.

Click here to read the full report.

There were 2,038 deer-vehicle collisions in the county in 2011, according to the report. None of the collisions resulted in injury.

Click here for more details on the county’s deer management programs.

Meanwhile, the City of Rockville is preparing to conduct a survey of the city’s deer population in December. The city will use infrared cameras to photograph deer.

Click on the Rockville 11 video above for more on the survey.

The survey was among recommendations of the city’s White-Tailed Deer Management Task Force that were released in February.

Click here to read more about deer management in Rockville and here for more coverage of deer management and the deer debate from Rockville Patch.

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