ELLICOTT CITY, MD - 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 20; January 3; January 17
Bow Hunting October 6; October 16; October 30; November 13; November 27; February 5
David Force Park
Bow & Shotgun October 11; October 25; November 8; January 8; February 6
High Ridge Park
Shotgun Hunting November 1; January 9; January 30
Middle Patuxent Environmental Area:
Bow & Shotgun October 15; October 29; November 12; November 19; January 7; January 28; February 11; February 19
Schooley Mill Park:
Shotgun Hunting November 26; January 2; January 15; January 29; February 12
In addition to this managed hunt program that gives specially screened and selected hunters 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.
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 at www.howardcountymd.gov/deermanagement.htm
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 delivers 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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