Montgomery Parks is seeking public comment on a plan to help cull the deer herd in Great Seneca Stream Valley in Germantown and Watts Brach Stream Valley Park in Potomac.
Montgomery Parks is proposing an Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program at two the parks from September through November 2015, and during January 2016. The program would address the overpopulation of deer on parkland in urban communities where safety regulations prohibit the use of firearms. If approved, the proposed program will complement the department’s managed hunting and Park Police sharpshooting initiatives.
“County citizens and representatives continue to request expanded deer population management efforts,” said Montgomery Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “Regulated archery hunting will allow Montgomery Parks to provide additional service in areas where firearms discharge regulation and/or access limitations prohibit the use of existing deer management programming.”
Montgomery Parks’ pilot Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program is proposed for Great Seneca Stream Valley, Unit 1(Germantown) and Watts Branch Stream Valley Park, Units 1 & 2 (Potomac). The parks will remain open to the public if the program is approved.
Archery hunters will be selected based on experience, a thorough background check, safety and ethics training, and results of an accuracy proficiency requirement. Participants will take an orientation program which includes a review of strict, clear guidelines for the hunts. A maximum of six participants will be permitted to hunt at a given time in each park, beginning in September. Signage will be posted at all park entrances, trailheads and key access points, to inform park users of the hunts.
Participants will receive maps identifying safe and permissible hunting areas; signs will be posted as well to delineate these areas. Hunting will occur from a stationary, elevated position, with shots restricted in distance and directed into a safe backstop.
“The safety of residents remains our top priority,” added Hamilton. “In 19 years of operations, and having directly reduced the deer population by nearly 15,000 deer, we have not had one occurrence of personal injury of the public as a result of the Department’s deer management operations. Programs have completed safely, achieving successful reductions of deer density and impacts, and generating an approximate 750,000 servings of lean protein into area shelters and soup kitchens. The Department of Parks will strive to maintain this reputation, through the ongoing attention to detail across all of our deer management programs.”
Archery hunting programs occur on several public lands within Montgomery County, as well as many public lands located in the population-dense suburbs of Washington D.C. There is no record of injury to non-participants or pets in any of these jurisdictions.
Montgomery Parks is currently seeking public comment on the proposed initiative through July 30, as part of its evaluation process. Comments may be submitted at www.ParksDeerManagement.org or by mail to:
M-NCPPC, Deer Management Initiatives,
12535 Milestone Manor Lane
Germantown, MD 20876
All comments, excluding any personal identifying information, will be posted at www.ParksDeerManagement.org.
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.
Photo by Germantown Pulse.