Eight park units added to ongoing efforts.
SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) will begin its annual deer population management program in September 2019 into March 2020. Eight park units have been added this year, for a total of 54 parks where archery and/or shotgun managed deer hunting or Park Police-based sharpshooting operations will take place. The 54 parks comprise more than 50% of Montgomery Parks total land area.
Initiated 23 years ago, the program addresses overabundant deer populations in many areas of the county that 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 the available habitat and human land uses.
Over 19,500 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 and, in the case of Park Police operations, donated to the Capital Area Food Bank—over 315,000 pounds to date.
“Montgomery County consists of a patchwork of urban, suburban, and agriculturally developed lands. This patchwork brings with it, excellent “edge” habitat, rich in food and cover resources where deer thrive. This optimal habitat, combined with limitations on hunting and a lack of other predators, results in overabundant deer populations and increased impacts to the environment and human interests.” said Ryan Butler, 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.”
This year, the following parks are being added to deer population management efforts: Laytonia Recreational Park, Pope Farm Nursery and Muncaster Recreational Park, Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park Units 2 & 3, and Cabin John Stream Valley Park Units 1 – 3. In addition to the expansions, two park locations will see an adjustment to strategy. Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park Unit 1 will transition from sharpshooting to archery managed hunting, and Bucklodge Conservation Park will add archery hunting to its existing shotgun-based managed hunting efforts. Residents adjacent to the newly added park locations are notified by mail of new deer population management expansions.
Signs alerting the public of all hunts are posted in advance throughout and surrounding affected parks, at all park entrances and in select communities surrounding the affected parks.
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 through January, currently in 14 parks, and does not require the parks to be closed. Lottery-based and cooperative managed deer hunts (shotgun) take place in 11 parks 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 at www.parksdeermanagement.org.
Park Police-based Sharpshooting Operations:
Park Police-based sharpshooting operations are conducted at night from February – March 2020, by highly trained and certified Park Police sharpshooters, in cooperation with Parks wildlife ecologists, under stringent guidelines. Thirty-two 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).
Questions or comments regarding additions and/or changes to existing programming (or other deer management-related inquiries), may be directed to: Info@montgomeryparks.org OR 9500 Brunett Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20901, ATTN: Customer Service Office. Please include your full name and address to allow for record keeping and response as appropriate.
Driver Safety Tips
As summer winds down, daylight hours decrease, deer food sources are shifting, and the breeding season, known as the rut is approaching. Each of these factors influence the movement patterns of deer and increase the risk of deer vehicle collisions (DVC’s). The months of October through December constitute the majority of the rut for white-tailed deer. During this period, deer activity/movement reaches its annual peak. Montgomery Parks urges residents and drivers to use caution as deer activity becomes more frequent and unpredictable through the autumn months, and offers the following recommendations:
For more information on the County’s deer management program see The Montgomery County Deer Management Program Annual Report and Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2020 which contains data pertaining to deer impacts and recommendations for the upcoming year. This and other information, including a copy of the County’s deer management plan, and information regarding deer management operations, are available through www.ParksDeerManagement.org.
About Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 422 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. www.MontgomeryParks.org
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission encourages the involvement and participation of all individuals in the community, including those with disabilities, in the planning and review processes. In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities. MNCPPC works to make its facilities and materials accessible and to hold public meetings in locations that are, likewise, accessible. MNCPPC will generally provide, upon request, appropriate aids and services and make reasonable modifications to policies and programs for qualified persons with disabilities (e.g., large print materials, listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.). For assistance with such requests, please contact the M-NCPPC Montgomery County Commissioners’ Office, at least a week in advance, at (301) 495-4605 or at email@example.com . Maryland residents can also use the free Maryland Relay Service for assistance with calls to or from hearing or speech-impaired persons; for information, go to www.mdrelay.org/ or call (866) 269-9006. Residents may also call the TTY number, (301) 495-1331, for assistance.
# # #