Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Deer Hunts Are Back

From HoCo Gov:

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 is as follows:

Alpha Ridge Park:
Bow & Shotgun November 4; December 9

Blandair Park:
Bow Hunting October 6; October 27; November 10; December 8

David Force Park:
Bow & Shotgun October 14; December 15

Fulton South Area:
Shotgun Hunting October 19; December 7; January 20

High Ridge Park:
Bow & Shotgun October 20; November 16

Middle Patuxent Environmental Area:
Bow & Shotgun October 7; October 28; November 11; December 16; January 13; February 10
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August 11, 2009

Department of Recreation & Parks Announces Deer Management Program for 2009-2010 (continued)

North Laurel Open Space Area:
Bow & Shotgun October 12; November 2; November 23;

Schooley Mill Park:
Shotgun Hunting November 9; November 24; December 14

West Friendship Park:
Shotgun Hunting November 18; February 3

Wincopin Trail Area at Savage Park:
Shotgun Hunting October 13; October 26; November 17

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 yet been finalized, 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.

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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