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Managed Deer Hunts and Park Police Sharpshooting Operations FAQs

Deer Population Management Frequently Asked Questions

MANAGED DEER HUNTS FAQ | PARK POLICE SHARPSHOOTING OPERATIONS FAQ

Managed Deer Hunts FAQ

What is a managed hunt?
A managed hunt is a controlled deer hunt for the purpose of reducing and or maintaining deer numbers on parklands for the benefit of natural ecosystems, local farmers, citizen landscapes, reducing deer vehicle collisions (DVC’s) and an overall reduction of deer human conflict.

What is meant by a “Lottery-based Managed Hunt”?
A Lottery-based Managed Hunt simply means that hunters, who have applied and met the MNCPPC qualifications for participation, are drawn at random for hunting dates and sites for which they have applied. This ensures a fair system for all participants.

What qualifies a hunter to participate in a managed hunt?
All managed hunt participants must complete a written Pre-screening Managed Hunt Packet (pdf. 773kb) delineating safety issues, personal experience and history, and personal motivations. As part of the pre-screening, participants must submit to a background check to ensure that they do not have a history of violent crime or DNR violations. If the questionnaire and background check are acceptable, the applicant may be approved to participate in the hunt lottery. If selected, the hunter must present: his/her Photo I.D., Hunter Safety Card, a current MD hunting license, and a State Shooter Qualification Card demonstrating his/her proficiency with the firearm they plan to use for the hunting program. Only then will the hunter be permitted to participate in the program.

What happens with the deer that are harvested during managed hunts?
When a deer is harvested in a managed hunt, it becomes the hunter’s responsibility to see that the deer is processed and consumed in an appropriate fashion. Usually, this entails one or more of the following: the hunter keeps the deer him/herself, and has it butchered or butchers the meat him/herself for personal use, the hunter butchers the deer and gives the meat to family members or acquaintances, or the hunter drops the deer off at a butcher shop to be donated to a charitable organization such as Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH).

Why are some hunts closed to public participation?
There are some properties where it is not feasible to conduct a lottery style managed hunt for reasons such as access and limited acreage to allow for enough participants to justify a large staff contingent or other management implications. Also, wildlife staff is limited and must prioritize its time commitment to areas where public safety, park use, and other issues are greatest. In these cases we invite specially qualified deer management groups to conduct similar hunts with limited supervision from staff. These groups meet strict requirements for safety, operation, and harvest, and are selected through the  Cooperative Managed Deer Hunting Program.

Isn’t there a better way to reduce deer human conflict than hunting?
There are many means either researched and/or practiced to reduce deer human conflicts that are showing varying levels of success. Depending on land uses, various methods can be employed such as: exclusionary fencing, chemical repellents, noise repellents, reflectors, other visual repellents and so on. Some of these methods can be effective at least some of the time and to varying degrees. However, there are often limiting factors such as local restrictions placed on landowners in terms of types of fencing or repellents used, overall cost to landowners and labor intensity, etc. Overall, the only method proven to be effective and efficient is lethal deer management. Simply stated, fewer deer equals fewer conflicts.

Have there ever been any major injuries as a result of the managed hunting program?
No, since its inception, the managed hunting program has been strictly monitored, and safety has remained paramount throughout. To date there have been no serious injuries to hunters or citizens. MNCPPC makes it abundantly clear that safety is the #1 priority, and that there is a zero tolerance level for any behavior that could result in serious, negligent injury.

Is Montgomery County the only county in Maryland that conducts managed hunts?
No, in fact, Howard County conducts managed hunts in its park system, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) and the Maryland DNR also run managed hunting operations on various Reservoir and State Park lands in nearby counties. Managed hunting programs are becoming increasingly common in similar urban/suburban areas throughout the country.

I would like an opportunity to comment on such programs. How can my voice be heard?
By reading this, you are taking the first step in learning about what is taking place! MNCPPC encourages all citizens to exercise their rights to voice their opinions. Simply call or write to your local, county and state officials and express your concerns. Your voice is important whether you are in support of current management practices or whether you oppose current management. Comment may be submitted to the Department of Parks by e-mail at MCP-deermanagement@montgomeryparks.org.

How can I become a hunter myself?
If you are interested in participating in the lottery-based Deer Management Program, pre-screening procedures must be followed. New applicants can download the pre-screening application & information here: Pre-screening Managed Hunt Packet (pdf. 773kb). Further questions may be directed to Wildlife Staff at 301-962-1344.

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MANAGED DEER HUNTS FAQ | PARK POLICE SHARPSHOOTING OPERATIONS FAQ

Park Police Sharpshooting Operations FAQ

What is the Park Police sharpshooting operation?
The Park Police sharpshooting operation uses sniper trained, M-NCPPC Park Police officers to effectively and efficiently remove deer from areas that are not conducive to hunting.

What is a sharpshooter?
A sharpshooter, in terms of deer management, is a highly trained individual capable of lethally removing a predetermined number of deer, in a humane manner, using specialized equipment (noise suppressed rifles) over a short period of time and under conditions not suitable to hunting (i.e. under the cover of darkness and in areas too small for safe hunting practices).

What happens with all of the deer that are removed during these operations?
All deer are removed discretely, transported to a processing location and the meat donated to local food disbursement organizations.

Have past sharpshooting operations been successful?
Yes, they have been very successful. In fact, many residents are seeing a difference in the amount of damage to landscaping that they are experiencing, DVC’s have been shown to decrease in these areas, and forest regeneration has improved in several of the wood plots in and around the parks where operations have been underway for several seasons.

I would like an opportunity to comment on such programs. How can my voice be heard?
By reading this, you are taking the first step in learning about what is taking place! M-NCPPC encourages all citizens to exercise their rights to voice their opinions. Simply call or write to your local, county and state officials and express your concerns. Your voice is important whether you are in support of current management practices or whether you oppose current management. Comment may be submitted to the Department of Parks by e-mail at MCP-deermanagement@montgomeryparks.org.

Last update: September 24, 2013