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 at places like Wheaton Regional Park 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.
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.
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.