Are Deer's Days Doomed in Chevy Chase?
Montgomery Parks proposes adding a park area in Chevy Chase to the county's deer management program.
It's not your imagination—the local deer population really is booming.
The number of deer inhabiting a section of Rock Creek Park in Chevy Chase is more than three times what is recommended for the area, according to a news statement from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
A study by the park and planning commission "indicated that 40 to 50 deer inhabit the 275 acres of parkland located within the boundary of Interstate 495 and East-West Highway," in what is referred to by the commission as Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, Unit 2, Chevy Chase.
To control the deer population, Montgomery Parks proposes adding Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, Unit 2, to the county's deer management program, and is accepting public comment on the proposal through Oct. 26.
"This site has been selected because deer populations have reached levels in which deer-related impacts, such as automobile accidents, damage to agricultural crops and private landscapes, damage to natural communities and potential of communicable diseases, are in need of mitigation," according to Montgomery Parks' website.
"Montgomery County has proven to be a very conducive environment for deer population growth," Montgomery Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton said.
"An expansive patchwork of public and private green space provides excellent edge habitat rich [in] food and cover. These habitat features, and limited hunting, provide deer the necessary sanctuary to grow unmitigated in the absence of checks and balances," Hamilton said.
If the Chevy Chase section is added to the deer management program, police sharpshooters will cull the deer herd in the section during the months when the park is closed (Jan. 1 through March 31), from 5:30 p.m. to sunrise, according to a news statement from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
"The managed hunts are conducted in the most humane way possible by specially trained Park Police sharpshooters," the statement added.
Before any hunting begins, yellow and black "Park Closed" signs would be posted in the park and at park entrances, as well as in the surrounding community.
All deer harvested during the Park Police-based sharpshooting operations will be donated to food pantries throughout the Washington, DC, area, including Montgomery County, the statement added.
To comment on the proposed sharpshooting in Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, Unit 2, email MCPfirstname.lastname@example.org or send written comments to M-NCPPC, Deer Management Initiatives, 12535 Milestone Manor Ln., Germantown, MD 20876. Comments must be received by 3 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2012, and must include a valid name and address. Comments will be posted online at www.parksdeermanagment.org for public review.