MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The Montgomery County Parks Department will start its annual deer culling in September. The management takes place in 54 parks. That’s more than 50 percent of space in Montgomery Parks, according to the parks department.
The deer management program includes archery and shotgun managed deer hunting, or Park Police-based sharpshooting operations. The goal of this program is to reduce the number of deer in Montgomery County.
“Montgomery County is a mosaic of urban, suburban, and agriculturally developed lands,” said Ryan Butler, Montgomery Parks Wildlife Ecologist. “This gradient of development brings with it, excellent “edge” habitat, rich in food and cover resources for deer to thrive. This favorable 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.”
“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,” added Butler.
The deer management program has been operating in Montgomery County for the past 24 years. When deer populations get too high, the county says there is increased risk for car accidents involving deer, damage to the environment, and risk for disease like Lyme. The parks department says more than 20,000 deer have been removed from Montgomery County parks since the program started.
Deer meat that is obtained from culling is used, typically donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. The parks department says more than 337,000 pounds of meat has been donated so far.
The parks department says people in the program will follow state and county health and safety protocols when it comes to COVID-19 precautions like wearing face coverings and social distancing when needed.
Be on the look out for signs with yellow and black lettering in Montgomery County parks. All hunts are posted in advance throughout and surrounding the affected parks, at all park entrances, and in select communities surrounding the affected parks. The program runs until March 2021.
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