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Big Deer Hunt Scheduled For Howard County

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Valentine Day Massacre

ELLICOTT CITY (WJZ)—Next week, sharpshooters will be in the woods in Ellicott City to reduce an overpopulation of deer.

Some homeowners tell Suzanne Collins they’re adamantly opposed to that plan.   

Some Ellicott City homeowners are posting pink signs in the wooded area where they live that say “Valentine’s Day Deer Massacre.”

“They don’t need to do it right now, and they don’t need to do it this close to all the residents,” said Brenda Gaigler. “If they didn’t build so much in Howard County, the deer would have some place to go.”

On Monday in this forested area, the local government will send out sharpshooters to kill deer to reduce their population.

“There’s ice on the ground right now,” said Ken Gaigler.  “I don’t care how great a marksman you are, all it takes is one slip. A bullet can hit that ice and come right into my house.”

Howard County Parks and Recreation counted deer with thermoimaging and say there’s 12  times the desirable number. The sharpshooters are state-certified.

“They are established in very specific shooting locations,” said John Byrd, Recreation and Parks.“They have a zone of fire they’re required to maintain strict safety measures all around for the program.”

Howard County Parks and Recreation says the overpopulation of deer will create a lack of vegetation from the ground to about 5 feet high and say that could create a danger to the survival of other wildlife. They add there is risk to foxes, birds and other animals, and if the vegetation goes, invasive plants can move in.

But one opponent believes the hunt is on after newcomers complained about deer damage.

“They have moved here into nature,” said Helen Baratny. “They like nature but they don’t like the reality of nature, and that is that deer live here, and they will come and eat their shrubs.”

The hunt will be done from around 3 p.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. Monday. The county says it will be monitoring the periphery to be sure people don’t wander in the woods.

Another shoot is scheduled on March 10 in the same wooded area.

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