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Montgomery Parks Deer Population Management

UPDATE:  Seasonal Park Closures for 2018-2019 Winter Deer Management Programs


Managing for Balance

Deer populations across much of Montgomery County have reached levels that exceed the capacity for sustainability of the natural environment (Biological Carrying Capacity) as well as the capacity for tolerance by citizens residing in the county (Cultural Carrying Capacity). In response to the recommendations of the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group, deer population management programs were established to directly reduce and maintain deer populations on parkland. Deer population management is conducted by the Department of Parks through Managed Deer Hunting Programs and a Park Police-based Sharpshooting Program, which are detailed below.

A small spike buck eating a plant by a house

Managed Deer Hunting

M-NCPPC Department of Parks, in order to reduce and maintain deer populations in accordance with the goals of the County’s deer management plan, conducts managed deer hunts in select parks on select dates during the fall and winter, annually. Programming is designed with public safety being paramount. Managed hunting programs are directed by the Department’s Natural Resources Stewardship Section and participants are required to follow strict safety and procedural guidelines. State and local laws are met and/or exceeded throughout each of the Managed Deer Hunting Programs.

Shotgun Hunting Programs

Shotgun Managed Deer Hunting is implemented within three programs, the Lottery-based Shotgun Managed Deer Hunting Program, the Cooperative Shotgun Managed Deer Hunting Program, and the Tenant-based Managed Deer Hunting Program. Park locations where hunting occurs is closed to the public for 24 hours on the day of the hunt.

Two deer standing in front of a home by a tree

The Lottery-based Shotgun Managed Deer Hunting Program is open to public application following review of a pre-screening procedure. New applicants can download the Lottery-based Shotgun Managed Hunt – Pre-screening Packet (PDF. 773kb) to apply. The deadline for new Pre-screening Managed Hunt applicants is the first Friday in August, annually.

The Cooperative Shotgun Managed Deer Hunting Program utilizes carefully selected groups, which are organized and insured, through a proposal-based procedure in select parks. The Tenant-based Managed Deer Hunting Program utilizes hunters identified by the lessee on an agriculturally leased park location. Hunters are approved by the Department of Parks and Maryland DNR to operate under a Maryland Deer Management Permit (DMP) intended to mitigate crop damage. For more information, contact us at MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org.

Archery Hunting Program

As the Department of Parks has been increasingly charged, with finding ways to broaden its management impact on deer populations, through program expansion; we have recognized archery hunting as the next step necessary to providing increased deer management service to the citizens of Montgomery County. The Archery Hunting Program has proven to be a low impact and effective method of managing deer populations in the county. Archery hunting occurs from September – January, annually in select park locations in accordance with the Program Regulations. Park locations where hunting occurs remains open to the public during these times.

The Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program utilizes carefully selected groups, which are organized and insured, through an application and review procedure. Once selected, groups are assigned to their specific park location for the duration of the Montgomery Parks Archery Managed Deer Hunting Season, annually. Groups interested in applying and seeking further details pertaining to this program are asked to review the Program Regulations and Requirements for Groups.

We are not currently accepting applications, but to be considered for future opportunities, please contact us at MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org.

To learn more about the Montgomery Parks managed deer hunting programs, please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

Two deer laying in ferns at Wheaton Regional Park

Park Police-based Sharpshooting

The M-NCPPC Department of Parks, Montgomery County, in order to reduce and maintain deer populations in accordance with the goals of the county’s deer management plan, conducts police-based sharpshooting in select parks during the period of January through February, annually.

Deer population reductions are conducted from 6:00 PM until 6:00 AM while the parks are closed to the public. Programming is designed with public safety being paramount. Police-based sharpshooting programs are directed and supervised by the Department’s Natural Resources Stewardship Section and Park Police Division.

Deer are removed safely, humanely, and discreetly. The meat product of all deer harvested through Park Police Sharpshooting operations is donated to the Capital Area Food Bank for distribution to the region’s charitable organizations throughout the surrounding area. To date, the Department of Parks has donated nearly 200,000 pounds of venison (800,000 servings) to those in need. If you have any questions about this program, please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

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Last Updated: May 9, 2019