NFCCA

Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ October 2010

Part Three of a Series

Oh, Deer!  Population Control

By Carole A. Barth

Every deer population control method has its share of controversy.  And yet, without population control, the deer and the forest will both continue to suffer.  Here is a brief description of the currently available methods of population control, the issues pertaining to each, and their effectiveness.

Currently, Montgomery County Parks Departments uses both managed hunts and sharpshooters to control deer.  Managed hunts were implemented in the County in the Fall of 1996 and have occurred annually ever since.  Currently, managed hunts are being conducted in eight County parks annually:

Police-based sharpshooting was implemented in the County in the spring of 1999 and has occurred annually ever since.

To date, the Department has conducted police-based sharpshooting programs in ten County parks:

Together these programs cover about 40 percent of the County’s Parks.  There are additional areas where management has been recommended, but funding is not available for expanding the program.  (For more information on deer management in the County, see the following webpage:  www.montgomeryparks.org/ caring-for-our-parks/wildlife/deer-management.)  [Note:  This URL has been updated since the printing of the newsletter.]

While I was able to find reports on the number of deer harvested each year by these programs, I could not find anything showing the change in deer density over time.  Nor could I find anything comparing current density figures to the deer density goals.  Without this information, it is hard to objectively say what impact the program is having.  Similarly, reports mention improvements in vegetation, such as the return of orchids and lilies to some areas, but I could find no actual data.  Without data, there is no way to quantify this improvement.   ■

Read Part 1: The Reasons Behind All The Deer Read Part 2: Deer Repellent

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