Posts tagged ‘deer’
SILVER SPRING, MD—The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery County Department of Parks is now accepting public comments on a proposal to conduct deer management at Sligo Golf Course on Sligo Creek Parkway in Silver Spring.
This proposal comes in response to community requests for deer population management in Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park. Parks wildlife ecology staff has also investigated the area to find deer densities far exceed desirable levels. The Friends of Sligo Creek (FOSC), a watershed advocacy group which conserves natural resources within the park and surrounding communities, endorses the department’s Sligo Golf Course deer management proposal. The Montgomery County Revenue Authority, which operates Sligo Golf Course, also supports this initiative.
“There is growing community momentum, in areas across the county, to initiate and request significant steps to address deer populations,” said Department of Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “This current proposal should signal that Montgomery Parks hears these concerns and is willing and able to act responsively to address community requests about deer.”
As proposed, specially trained Maryland-National Capital Park Police sharpshooters, under stringent guidelines and in the most humane way possible, will lethally remove deer from the park. If approved, the proposed activity would occur beginning this winter and annually as required during the months of January through March, from 5:30 pm until sunrise—at night when the park is closed to public use. All deer harvested from the program are donated to feed the hungry throughout the Capital area, including in Montgomery County.
“Park Police sharpshooting is specifically designed to be safe in densely developed areas,” added Hamilton. “Since 1999, Montgomery Parks has employed Park Police sharpshooting as a way to safely and effectively manage deer populations when traditional methods of hunting are not practical or legally possible.”
To date, the Department of Parks deer management operations have been successful. More than 4,000 deer have been
harvested. Measurable reductions of impacts from deer have been realized, such as a decline in deer-vehicle collisions surrounding parks where management occurs. And, there has not been a single accident since the program began.
The Department of Parks is seeking public input on this proposal to add Sligo Golf Course to its deer management operations, primarily from residents surrounding the golf course, prior to making a final decision. Residents may submit comments by
email to MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org or traditional mail to Department of Parks, Wildlife Ecology Unit, 12535
Milestone Manor Lane, Germantown, Maryland 20876. Comments will be accepted now through Thursday, November 10, 2011. 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
SILVER SPRING, MD—Today, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery County Department of Parks announces its fall 2011, winter 2012 deer management operations season and reminds drivers to take caution as deer activity increases in fall.
“The sound of gunfire may be heard during our deer management operations,” said Department of Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “Residents should know these sounds, while alarming, don’t represent a significant concern for safety.”
The department’s seasonal deer management operations will begin Friday, October 28, 2011 at Hoyles Mill Conservation Park and Woodstock Equestrian Special Park and will be completed on March 31, 2012. These activities will result in several intermittent park closures. Park users are encouraged to note park closures, affecting specific park locations during this period which are noted on the department’s website at www.MontgomeryParks.org. Yellow and black “Park Closed” signs will be posted throughout and surrounding affected parks, at all park entrances and in communities surrounding these affected parks.
“The department’s deer management program has been designed with safety paramount,” added Hamilton. “During fifteen years of operations, having harvested over 10,000 deer, not one injurious accident has occurred.”
To complete the managed deer hunts, part of the annual deer management operations, eight county parks will be closed from sunrise until sunset on select dates from October 2011 through January 2012. From January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2012, additional county parks will be closed from 5:30 pm until sunrise—at night when the parks are closed to public use—for Maryland-National Capital Park Police sharpshooting of deer, another component of the seasonal operations. A complete list of the scheduled park closures is below.
“The department’s efforts have been successful in reducing deer-related impacts in areas where deer management is ongoing,” said Hamilton. “Still, deer impacts are becoming increasingly prevalent in urban areas, such as Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Cabin John, Rockville and others.”
In response to resident requests, the department will begin investigating Sligo Golf Course in Silver Spring for Maryland-National Capital Park Police sharpshooting of deer this winter. Information on new proposals will be made available to the public later
this fall and public comments will be accepted prior to any decision to proceed with this addition.
Many parks in urban areas are narrow, linear stream valley parks surrounded by dense development. These parks typically include much infrastructure, such as hard surface trails, athletic fields and courts, and public gathering spots. They are designed to provide for the densely populated communities they serve. Similarly, in urban areas where public use is less frequent, access to parkland is often very limited. Both circumstances require the most detailed attention to safe and legal weapons discharge with regard to introducing a deer management operation.
“Our objective, now, is to move forward in an effort to develop safe and effective programs to reduce deer-related impacts in the more urbanized county communities where residents have vocalized growing concerns about deer populations,” noted Hamilton. “Addressing deer population growth on parkland in these highly developed communities, while not insurmountable, is complex and will require thorough planning by the department and a high level of community support and commitment.”
This time of year, the Department of Parks also reminds residents and drivers the months of October through December are the breeding season for deer and activity will be at its annual peak. During this period, deer activity becomes more frequent and unpredictable.
Drivers should keep the following tips in mind to avoid a collision:
Be more aware of deer on or near roadways and take
Be aware deer are most active from dusk through dawn.
Look for eye-shine along road edges.
Deer may travel in groups, so if you see one deer expect there to be others.
Pay attention to deer crossing signs; these signify areas where multiple accidents have occurred.
A collision with a deer can happen on any roadway in the county, but be particularly cautious in areas where you observe deer often and where woodlands run adjacent to the roadway.
“The best precaution drivers can take is to drive the speed limit and to keep an eye out for deer along the roadside,” noted Hamilton. “Most importantly, if you encounter a deer on the roadway, brake cautiously and in control.”
For more on the Department of Parks’ deer management program, including a copy of the county’s deer management plan, Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group annual reports and information on deer management operations, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org.
Montgomery Parks Fall and Winter 2011/2012 Deer Management Closures
Parks closed for managed deer hunts—closed sunrise through sunset on the dates indicated.
Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown), Closed: Tuesdays, November 8 and 22,
and December 13, 2011
Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds), Closed: Fridays, December 2, 2011 and January 13, 2012
Great Seneca Stream Valley Park, Unit 2 (Gaithersburg), Closed: Wednesdays, November 2 and 16 and December 14, 2011
Hoyles Mill Conservation Park and attached segments of Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds), Closed: Friday, October 28, Friday, November 4, Saturday, November 12, Friday, November 18, Saturday, December 3, Friday, December 9, Saturday, December 17, 2011 and Friday, January 6, Saturday, January 14, and Saturday, January 21, 2012
Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg), Closed: Wednesday, December 7 through Friday, December 9, 2011 and Wednesday, January 4 through Friday, January 6,2012
North Germantown Greenway Park (Clarksburg), Closed: Wednesdays, November 2 and 16 and December 14, 2011
Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney), Closed: Mondays, November 7 and 21, and December 12, 2011
Woodstock Equestrian Special Park (Beallsville), Closed: Fridays, October 28, November 4, December 2, 2011 and January 13, 2012
Parks closed for Park Police-based sharpshooting—closed 5:30 pm through sunrise January 1 through March 31, 2012.
Agricultural History Farm Park and attached segments of Rock Creek Stream Valley Park (Derwood)
Layhill Local Park (Wheaton)
Needwood Golf Course (Rockville)
North Branch Stream Valley Park, Units 2&3 (Norbeck)
North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4 (Olney)
Northwest Branch Recreational Park (Aspen Hill)
Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 7 (Norwood)
Northwest Golf Course (Wheaton)
Rock Creek Regional Park (Rockville)
Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, Unit 7 (Aspen Hill)
Wheaton Regional Park (Wheaton)
Woodlawn Special Park (Sandy Spring)
Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks
SILVER SPRING, MD—Some of the negative impacts of deer in Montgomery County are being held at bay according to the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group’s new Fiscal Year 2012 annual report and recommendations for deer management.
“Implementation of long-term, effective deer management strategies is continuing to hold some of the negative impacts of deer in Montgomery County steady, but more efforts are needed in the future,” said Rob Gibbs, chair of the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group and Montgomery Parks Natural Resources Manager.
The report, released today, presents an overview of the county’s deer management program, actions implemented since the program began in 1995, and lists specific recommendations for implementation in FY 2012, which began July 1, 2011. Recommendations include both non-lethal and lethal strategies including deer population management initiatives on public land.
As noted in the report, one indicator used to evaluate the effectiveness of deer management is the number of deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs) recorded annually by the Montgomery County Police Department. The total DVCs recorded for 2010 was 1,930.
Year: DVCs reported by MCPD
Deer-vehicle Collision Data 1994 – 2010 (Source – Montgomery County Police Department)
Overall, DVC numbers remain more than 8 percent below the highest accident rates, which occurred in 2002 despite increases in total vehicle miles traveled in the county—approximately 10 percent more miles during the past decade (www.marylandroads.com/oppen/Vehicle_Miles_of_Travel.pdf).
“We also know based on the data collected over a seven-year period around three parks, in particular, where deer management was being conducted that there was a significant reduction in DVCs adjacent to those parks,” added Gibbs. “We believe that this trend has continued as we’ve expanded our program over the years, however, accidents have likely continued to increase in areas where management is not yet implemented. Additional management is recommended in this year’s report.”
The Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group works closely with federal, state and county agencies to address and reduce deer related impacts. More than 1,600 homeowners and landscape professionals have attended workshops held by the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) to learn tips on landscaping, repellents, fencing and other methods of controlling deer damage around the home.
Managed deer hunting and Park Police-based sharpshooting have been used in 19 Montgomery County parks. Two state parks, three Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission (WSSC) lands and one Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Solid Waste Services property have also utilized managed deer hunting to reduce deer populations in locations experiencing a high level of deer related impacts.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources continues to implement changes to state deer hunting regulations in an attempt to increase the annual harvest of deer, with an emphasis on reducing populations where they are extremely high. The State Highway Administration and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation are investigating and implementing measures such as wildlife passages under new roads, public service announcements and information on County Cable Montgomery to reduce the occurrence of deer related automobile accidents.
“Collectively, these strategies are intended to help reduce deer-human conflicts countywide,” said Gibbs. “Despite these efforts, though, some residents are still experiencing damage, especially in some down-county areas including Chevy Chase, Colesville, Potomac, Rockville, Olney and Silver Spring.”
Deer management is much more difficult to implement safely in these down-county areas due to the smaller, narrower size of open space and parkland, the high density of adjacent houses, a high level of public activity and a lack of resources needed to address the challenges. The Work Group continues to investigate a variety of measures to control deer numbers in these more urbanized areas but it continues to challenge not only Montgomery County but suburban areas across the nation.
For more information about deer in Montgomery County and to find this year’s annual report, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org. Also, to comment on this report or arrange for a free workshop for your homeowner or community association on controlling deer damage, email MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org or call 301- 962-1341.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks