Our network

Department of Parks Approves Deer Management for North Branch Park, Starting February | Urban Wildlife

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Department of Parks Approves Deer Management for North Branch Park, Starting February
Urban Wildlife
Department of Parks Approves Deer Management for North Branch Park, Starting February

OLNEY, MD—Today, the Montgomery County Department of Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, announces approval of a new deer population management program in North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4—north of Bowie Mill Road in Olney.

Starting this February and through March 2011, the Department of Parks will implement a Park Police-based sharpshooting program to reduce the local deer population in the park. Specially trained Park Police sharpshooters, under very stringent guidelines and in the most humane way possible, will lethally remove deer from the park. The Park Police-based sharpshooting activities will occur at night when the park is closed to the public, from 5:30 pm until sunrise. Yellow and black “Park Closed” signs will be posted throughout the park, notices of closures posted on the Montgomery Parks website and Park Police will patrol the park during these operations to ensure public safety and safe weapons discharge.  

“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,” said Department of Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton.

Parks wildlife ecology staff has investigated deer densities in North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4, annually since 2009. It is currently estimated that 145-181 individual deer utilize these parklands; a density which is a minimum of 6 times higher than recommended for this location.

In response to area residents’ requests for deer population management in North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4, particularly the Norbeck Grove and Oatland Farms homeowner’s associations, the Department of Parks proposed this addition to the program and accepted public comments throughout the month of November 2010. Comments were received from 18 area residents during the open comment period—78 percent supportive of the program. Those opposed pointed to utilizing alternative measures such as birth control and archery and cited concerns about safety.

“The department’s Park Police-based sharpshooting program has removed approximately 3,500 deer over the past 10 years, without a single accident,” said Hamilton. “Our efforts have been successful, and more often than not, residents are unaware that any activity has occurred.”

All deer harvested from the program will be utilized to feed the hungry throughout the Capital area, including in Montgomery County.

To learn more the department’s deer management program, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

Urban Wildlife