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Montgomery Parks Announces Seasonal Park Closures for Annual Deer Management Operations

September 26, 2013

Public comment is sought through October 25, on proposal to add Cabin John Regional Park to program.

SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) will launch its fall 2013, winter 2014 deer management operations season on October 28 resulting in several intermittent park closures spanning through the end of February. Lottery-based and cooperative managed deer hunts, as well as Park Police-based Sharpshooting, will take place in 27 parks in the Montgomery Parks system. (A complete schedule of park closure dates and times is listed at the end of the release.)

Deer population reduction is conducted in the most safe and humane way possible by specially trained Park Police sharpshooters and qualified, pre-screened hunters. More details on the lottery-based programs are available at www.parksdeermanagement.org.

The deer population reduction program began in 1996 following recommendations from the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group (DMWG), and in response to citizen concerns about the increasingly adverse impacts of the burgeoning deer population on local neighborhoods.

All of the deer harvested from the Park Police-based Sharpshooting program are transported to a processing facility and the meat donated to local food disbursement organizations. Last year approximately 16,000 pounds of processed venison was donated to the National Capital Area Food Bank.

Program Expansion Open for Public Comment

On-going concerns from residents about the growing deer population in and around Cabin John Regional Park, Bethesda, prompted an assessment of deer numbers in the park. The study indicated that 125 – 150 deer inhabit the 514 acres of parkland located within the boundary of Interstate 270, Democracy Boulevard and Seven Locks Road—three times the density recommended for the area. As a result, Montgomery Parks is proposed adding specially selected areas of Cabin John Regional Park to the Park Police Sharpshooting Program, and is accepting public comment on the proposal through October 25. To be considered, comments must include a valid name and address, and will be posted online (absent of these) at www.parksdeermanagment.org for public review. Comments may be submitted by email to MCP-deermanagement@montgomeryparks.org or by U.S. Mail to:

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks
Deer Management Initiatives
12535 Milestone Manor Lane
Germantown, MD  20876.
 

Montgomery County has proven to be a very conducive environment for deer population growth,” said Montgomery Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “An expansive patchwork of public and private green space provides excellent edge habitat rich of food and cover.  These habitat features, and limited hunting, provide deer the necessary sanctuary to grow unmitigated in the absence of checks and balances. The result has been an increase in deer-human conflicts including deer related automobile accidents, damage to agricultural crops and residential gardens, and concerns about Lyme disease. Such impacts are compounded when deer are more densely concentrated into smaller areas of habitat that often result in land use changes and development.”

In advance of the hunts, 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 safety of residents is our top priority,” added Hamilton. “In seventeen years of operations, and having harvested nearly 13,000 deer, we have not had one occurrence of personal injury of the public as a result of the Department’s deer management operations.”

Driver Safety Tips

The months of October through December are breeding season for deer when activity reaches an annual peak. Montgomery Parks urges residents and drivers to use caution as deer activity becomes more frequent and unpredictable, and offers the following recommendations:

  • Be alert for deer on or near roadways and take precautions.
  • Be aware that 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 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.

For more information on the County’s deer management program see The Montgomery County Deer Management Program Annual Report and Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2014 which contains data on deer impacts and recommendations for the upcoming year. This and other information including a copy of the county’s deer management plan, and information on deer management operations, are available at www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Deer Population Management Programs Park Closure Schedule for Fall 2013, Winter 2014

 

Lottery-Based and Cooperative Managed Deer Hunting Programs

[Parks Closed from Sunrise – Sunset]

October

28 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

30 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

November

2 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

5 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

8 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

8 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)

9 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

9 – Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds)

13 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

15 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

16 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

18 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

19 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

20 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

23 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

23 – Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds)

25 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

26 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

December

6 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

6 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)

7 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

10 -13– Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg)

13 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

16 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

17 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

18 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

21 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

January

3 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

3 – Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds)

4 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

4 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)

11 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

17 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

18 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

25 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

 

Park Police-Based Sharpshooting Program

[Parks Closed January 10 – February 28, from 6:00PM – 6:00AM, Monday-Friday]

Agricultural History Farm Park (Derwood – including attached segments of Rock Creek Stream Valley Units 12 & 16)

Black Hill Regional Park (Boyds)

 

Cabin John Regional Park (Bethesda)*

Needwood Golf Course (Rockville)

North Branch Stream Valley Park Units 2 & 3 (Norbeck)

North Branch Stream Valley Park Unit 4 (Olney)

Northwest Branch Recreation Park (Aspen Hill – including Layhill Local Park in Wheaton)

Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park Unit 7 (Norwood)

Northwest Golf Course (Wheaton)

Rock Creek Regional Park (Rockville)

Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit 2 (Bethesda/Chevy Chase)

Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit 7 (Aspen Hill)

Sligo Creek Golf Course (Silver Spring)

Wheaton Regional Park (Wheaton)

Woodlawn Special Park (Sandy Spring)

 

Tenant-Based Managed Deer Hunting Program

[Park Closed to Public Access Year Round]

Goshen Recreation Park (Goshen)

* Proposed expansion initiative for FY2013

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 418 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org