Friday, September 19, 2008

Bambi Beware

It's that time of year stay out of the woods ;-)

From HoCo PR...

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – 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. As a result, the amount of hunting in Alpha Ridge Park, David Force Park, High Ridge Park and the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area has been reduced to a level needed to manage deer abundance and protect natural resources. The County has reduced the number of managed hunting days by two. 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 is as follows:

Alpha Ridge Park:
Bow & Shotgun November 17

Blandair Park:
Bow Hunting October 8, 22; November 5, 19; December 3, 17;
January 29

David Force Park:
Bow & Shotgun October 16, 30; November 13; December 18; January 15; February 5

High Ridge Park:
Bow & Shotgun December 4

Middle Patuxent Environmental Area:
Bow & Shotgun October 14, 21; November 11, 18; December 16;
January 8; February 12

North Laurel Area:
Bow & Shotgun October 28, November 20 and December 2

Schooley Mill Park:
Shotgun Hunting October 13, 27; November 10; December 1, 15

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. While the schedule for sharpshooting has not been finalized, it is anticipated that there will be no new properties added to the program this year. Last year’s locations included: Alpha Ridge Landfill, Blandair Park, Daniels Mill Overlook, Gray Rock Openspace, Rockburn Branch Park, Timbers of Troy and Worthington Park.

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

The Department of Recreation & Parks and the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service can also arrange to have experts on the topic speak to homeowner associations, schools or other groups. 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% or more.

For more information on the deer management program, call the Department of Recreation & Parks at 410-313-1675.

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