Montgomery Parks will operate its annual deer population management program from September 2021 through March 2022.
The program was started 25 years ago to address overabundant deer populations in many areas of the county.
This year four locations (six total park units) are being added to the program for a total of 60 parks where archery and/or shotgun managed deer hunting, or park police-based sharpshooting operations will take place. The 60 parks comprise more than 50% of M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks’ total land area.
Locations added to the continued deer population management efforts include Damascus Recreational Park/Magruder Branch Stream Valley Park (Units 1 & 2 from Watkins Rd. northwest to Sweepstakes Rd. & including Wildcat Branch SVU 3) – archery managed hunting; Ten Mile Creek Conservation Park (segment from West Old Baltimore Rd. northeast to Slidell Rd) – archery managed hunting; and Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Park – park police sharpshooting. In addition, there will be a shift to archery-managed hunting at Black Hill Regional Park (segment east of Rte. 121) and Blockhouse Point Conservation Park.
Residents adjacent to the newly added/adjusted park locations are notified by mail of new deer population management efforts.
About the Deer Management Program:
The program addresses overabundant deer populations that can result in deer-automobile accidents, excessive damage to the environment, private landscapes and agriculture, and concerns over disease. Once programming is implemented and established in these areas, routine maintenance is typically required to balance deer with available habitat and human land uses.
Over 21,500 deer have been removed from select parks since the inception of the program. All the resultant deer meat is utilized and/or donated by managed hunting participants or, in the case of Park Police-based sharpshooting, donated to the Capital Area Food Bank—over 351,000 pounds to date.
“Montgomery County is a mixture of urban, suburban, and agriculturally developed lands. This gradient of development offers excellent “edge” habitat, rich in food and cover resources where deer thrive. This advantageous habitat, combined with limited hunting and lack of other predators, results in high deer populations and associated impacts to the environment and human interests in the county,” said David Petersen, Montgomery Parks Wildlife Ecologist. “Our deer population management efforts are intended to address these matters of public safety, natural resources protection, and other concerns of county residents. Across all program elements, the safety of residents remains our top priority.”
Signs alerting the public of all deer population management programs are posted in advance throughout and surrounding affected parks, at all park entrances, and in select communities surrounding the affected parks. For parks that include closure, park visitors are encouraged to plan ahead accordingly.
Archery and Shotgun Managed Hunting:
Archery and shotgun-managed deer hunting are conducted by qualified, pre-screened hunters, under the direction and oversight of Montgomery Parks professional staff. Archery-managed deer hunting occurs from September 2021 through January 2022, currently in 21 parks (park units), and does not require the parks to be closed. Lottery-based and cooperative managed deer hunts(shotgun) take place in 11 parks (park units) which are closed to the public for each 24-hour period while operations are underway. A complete schedule of hunt dates and locations is available online.
Park Police-based Sharpshooting Operations:
Park police-based sharpshooting operations are conducted at night from February – March 2022 by highly trained and certified park police sharpshooters, in cooperation with parks wildlife ecologists, under stringent guidelines. Thirty-one parks (park units) are included in these operations. These parks, including all trails, are closed in preparation for and during the operations from sunset – sunrise (when parks are typically closed, per Park Rules and Regulations).