Montgomery County hunters and police sharpshooters will begin culling deer in part of Rock Creek Park starting Feb. 11. Rock Creek Stream Valley Park in Chevy Chase is just one of 25 parks where deer will be or have been hunted in the county this season.
There was a time when white-tailed deer were almost extinct in Maryland and had to be imported from Texas to repopulate. But without natural predators, the local deer population has exploded. Montgomery County estimates there are three times as many deer as the 277-acre park can sustainably hold.
Deer overpopulation has been shown to threaten survival of forests and drastically reduce biodiversity. The county also cites automobile accidents and Lyme disease as reasons for controlling the population. The parks will be closed during hunting, and all venison from the hunt will be donated to local soup kitchens.
Dates and locations for upcoming deer management operations including lottery-based managed deer hunts, cooperative managed deer hunts and Park Police-based sharpshooting operations are listed below.
Lottery-Based and Cooperative Managed Deer Hunting Programs (Parks closed from sunrise-sunset)
Park Police-Based Sharpshooting Program (All parks closed January 1-March 31, from 5:30 p.m.-sunrise daily)
Tenant-based managed deer hunting program (Park closed to public access year-round)