Managed Deer Hunts Announced

The Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks has announced its fall/winter schedule of managed deer hunts. The hunts will be held in an effort to help maintain a stable, balanced white-tailed deer population in our parks where deer browsing has been shown to reduce biodiversity.

Since the program began in 1998, there has been an observable improvement in habitat quality and vegetation abundance in many of the parks where managed hunting has taken place. This
year’s managed hunts will include a combination of bow and shotgun hunting. Hunting hours are from dawn until 12 noon, and each park will be closed for all other uses during this time. The hunting schedule (both bow and shotgun) for the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (MPEA) is as follows:

October 21
November 4
November 11
December 16
January 6
January 20
February 10

Managed hunts will also take place in the following locations throughout the fall and winter: Alpha Ridge Park, Blandair Park, David Force Park, High Ridge Park, Schooley Mill Park, and West Friendship Park.

In addition to this managed hunt program, in which specially screened and selected hunters are allowed daytime access to certain parks, the Department also operates a sharpshooting program.
The sharpshooting program utilizes licensed and qualified marksmen and precise, accurate, noise-suppressed firearms at night in areas where the managed hunt is not feasible.
Additionally, the Department of Recreation & Parks will host their 2nd Annual Wounded Veteran Managed Deer Hunt on December 13 and 14 at West Friendship Park. Open to recovering soldiers throughout the region, registration for this hunt is required. For more information or to register for the wounded veterans hunt, contact Kevin Vest, Program Coordinator, at ksvest@howardcountymd.gov.

Since deer population reduction programs such as the hunts and sharpshooting are not possible in many areas of the county, the Department of Recreation & Parks has developed a Deer Management Reference Manual to help homeowners and gardeners live in harmony with white-tailed deer. The manual, which is
available in all county library branches, contains information on the use of deer repellents, fencing to protect crops and property, how to avoid deer-auto collisions, and Lyme Disease prevention.
There is also information about the county’s deer management program available on the Department’s website at www.howardcountymd. gov/RAP/RAP_DeerManagement.htm.
Other Recreation & Parks’ deer management programs include an effort to reduce ticks on deer through the use of “Four-Poster” devices which deliver an approved pesticide to deer attracted to a feeder baited with corn. Developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the devices have been shown to reduce
tick populations by 90 percent or more. For more information on the deer management program, call
the Department of Recreation & Parks at 410-313-1675.

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