OLNEY, MD—This November, the Montgomery County Department of Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is accepting public comments on conducting deer management in North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4—north of Bowie Mill Road in Olney.
“There are a handful of organizations throughout the county who have taken significant steps to address and request deer management for their communities,” said Department of Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “I hope that the department’s current proposal to add North Branch Stream Valley Park to the deer management program is a sign that Montgomery Parks hears resident concerns and continues to act responsively to address requests.”
Over the past several years, residents from this area have requested deer population management in North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4. In particular, the Norbeck Grove and Oatland Farms homeowner’s associations have requested deer management and endorse the department’s proposed action for North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4. The Department of Parks is proposing to implement a Park Police-based sharpshooting program to reduce the local deer population in this park. Parks wildlife ecology staff have investigated deer densities in the area and determined that they far exceed desirable levels.
“Park Police has been utilizing sharpshooting as a method of deer population reduction in Montgomery Parks since 1999, safely and effectively when traditional hunting is not practical or legally possible,” added Hamilton.
As proposed, specially trained Park Police sharpshooters, under very stringent guidelines and in the most humane way possible, will lethally remove deer from the park. If approved, the proposed program would occur during the upcoming months of February through March 2011, and January through March annually thereafter. The Park Police-based sharpshooting activities would occur at night when the park is closed to the public. All deer harvested from the program would be utilized to feed the hungry throughout the Capital area, including in Montgomery County.
“The department’s Park Police-based sharpshooting program has removed approximately 3,500 deer over the past 10 years,” said Hamilton. “Utilizing methods specifically designed to be safe in the most urban environments, there has not been a single accident. Our efforts have been successful, and more often than not, residents are unaware that any activity has occurred.”
The Department of Parks is seeking public input on this proposal, primarily from residents surrounding North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4 before making a final decision. Comments will be accepted by email at MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org and traditional mail to Department of Parks, Wildlife Ecology Unit, 2000 Shorefield Road, Wheaton, MD 20902, from now through November 30, 2010. All comments must include a full name and address to be considered. To learn more about this proposal and the department’s deer management program, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks