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MoCo Parks OKs Archery Managed Deer Hunt Program

The Montgomery County parks department has approved a pilot archery deer hunting program to help cull the deer herd in Great Seneca Stream Valley in Germantown and Watts Brach Stream Valley Park in Potomac.

In July, Montgomery Parks asked the public for comment on the proposed hunting program. The parks department received approximately four hundred comments from the public offering opinions on the proposal.

“Public support was greater than opposition, by a slight margin,” said Bridget Schwiesow, communication manager at Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which oversees Montgomery Parks. “Those in opposition shared concern for potential excessive wounding and suffering by way of archery hunting. The goal of every managed hunting program is to experience no wounding loss. With that in mind, the department recognizes that perfection is unlikely.

Montgomery Parks proposed 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. As such, it is possible that wounding loss will occur at some level. Through selection and training of hunting participants, the Department of Parks is committed to making every effort to reduce the probability of wounding loss.”

Similar programs, throughout the region have shown varying rates of loss ranging from 3 percent to 17 percent, according to Schwiesow. “These rates of unintended injury are consistent with other methods of lethal and non-lethal deer population management, including those of immunocontraception and surgical sterilization programs,” she said.

“The intent of the pilot Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program is to evaluate the method against the presumptions and to demonstrate that archery may be a safe and effective method for deer population management on Montgomery County parklands,” said Schwesow, in a release to the media. “The Department of Parks is dedicated to a responsible and humane approach as part of all of its deer population management programs. If at any time the rate of wounding, or unsafe practices are revealed as unacceptable, immediate action will be taken to mitigate for these or to suspend programming.”