Baltimore Co. Considering Deer Hunt On Park Land

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)–Large deer populations have Baltimore County considering a managed hunt on some park lands.

Alex DeMetrick reports it’s part of an ongoing problem of too many deer in too little space.

Most deer are hunted in rural areas. But increasingly in Maryland, managed hunts are being staged closer to developments.

Parks like Oregon Ridge may become the next hunting ground. Baltimore County is considering legislation to do just that.

“We have a very bad overpopulation problem with deer, and it’s creating a lot of environmental issues,” said Todd Huff, Baltimore County Councilman.

That’s because deer are eating away plants faster than they can grow and establish. Even with efforts to plant and protect new saplings, deer at Oregon Ridge are chewing up the future.

“Since they’re so plentiful, and they’re hardy eaters, they’re destroying the under story, so the forest can’t restore our large oaks and other trees. It’s all getting eaten, so there’s no regeneration,” said Shannon Davis, Oregon Ridge naturalist.

Deer hunting in the limited space of parks is nothing new. Two months ago, a park hunt near Ellicott City sparked protest. That might be an issue for homes near Oregon Ridge, although managed hunts limit ammunition.

Licensed sharp shooters or bow hunters have also been used in the Loch Raven watershed, and even in the limited space of Goucher College during winter breaks.

But concern remains.

“Weapons and guns and bows and arrows aren’t appropriate in neighborhoods,” said Enid Feinberg, Baltimore County resident.

“I would much rather a deer be taken out by a hunter than taken out by a car or actually starve to death. They actually do a lot more suffering getting hit by a car or starving,” Huff said.

Baltimore County’s Council will open up the hunting issue to public comment later this month before voting on the measure.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • Paul

    These management practices have been in place for years at Pretty Boy, Liberty and the last few years at Loch Raven, promoting effective game mangement by Maryland bowhunters.

  • sheriffwillie

    Let’s go, I’ll shoot those four legged pricks that eat all our shrubs & then run into our cars at night & give us lyme disease. Shoot them all, even Santa Claus uses a Hummer these days.

    • Bullfrog

      Willie, I would rather shoot some two legged pricks that kill and severely injury innocent people. As for the deer, permit the bow hunters to kill them under supervision. Those two legged pricks give other people HIV, AIDS, HEPATITIS, and last but not least STDS. So let’s see who does more damage, I would say THE TWO LEGGED PRICKS.

  • Herman Glimsher


    • chuckbob

      The state does. It is a very rigid set of guidelines and you have to prove that you are safe and competent with your firearm. Those who apply for a permit have to prove their worth. It isn’t a case of give old uncle Willie a license to kill deer.

  • Judith

    Problem would be solved if Maryland would stop allowing the state to become one big mass of suburbia.

    • Joey Dundalk

      I agree. Lets start by relocating you to140 West West Street

  • rick young


  • fish

    mart bass with ears

  • pigeon

    It isn’t overpopulation of deer, it’s overpopulation of humans who have encroached on deer habitat building homes they can’t afford. Don’t worry people in that area, the government, for a change, knows what they are doing. This is the only way to solve the problem that we humans and not the deers have caused. For those of you of little knowledge, you have no idea how difficult it is to be licensed as a sharp shooter.

    • Squaregrouper

      Actually, the root of the problem is in the fact that humans have wiped out all of a deer’s natural predators- wolves, mountain lions/cougars, etc.

  • Steve K.

    Pigeon…. you’are about half right…. but unless you’re willing to bulldoze your own home, and plant trees on the lot then you’re all talk. Squaregrouper is much closer to right, but just like you won’t plow your home under, you, or your neighbors won’t be willing to tolerate predators either. This has all been discussed at lenght for years, and those who oppose hunting have never come up with a VIABLE alternative to hunting. While all the talk has been going on the deer have reproduced unchecked in too many areas of the State, and the woodded areas are blighted to the point that only mature growth survives the onslaught. The time is long past to act, and it may even be too late now. We hunters will do our level best to reduce the deer populations to a managable level, and we will also pay the State for licenses, and permits to do it.
    It seems to me that those who oppose hunting are generally the same folks that shout “celebrate diversity”, but only want to celebrate the diversity they approve of, which is exactly what they are critical of others for doing. I hope you’re not one og these hipocrytes. Hunting is a long held tradition with many positive aspects.

  • y. Gibbons

    You enviro-wackos crack me up!!! Maybe just get on a bullhorn and tell the deer to leave in an orderly fashion…

  • Buzz

    LOL People that get a thrill out of killing animals just for the sake of killing calling other people “Whackos”

  • Jim

    I support this initiative and as a proud bowhunter and steward of the land, applaud the County for their recognition of hunting as an effective tool to manage the exploding deer population.

  • Doug

    Scientific studies disprove the correlation between killing deer and the reduction of Lyme disease. You could kill all the deer in the state of Maryland and you would still have Lyme disease. In fact, killing deer increases the amount of food and cover available for mice, birds and other hosts, which in turn will boost tick numbers and escalate the spread of Lyme disease. Since ticks can be found on 49 bird species, all mammals including chipmunks, squirrel, voles, foxes, rabbits and mice, when deer numbers are reduced, ticks tend to congregate in higher
    densities on the remaining deer or switch to alternate hosts including pets and humans. Ticks need to be eradicated at the larval and nymph stage, particularly when they are on the white-footed mice host.

    John Griffin, the head of DNR in Maryland wrote that “even a dramatic reduction in the deer population would do little to dampen the disease.” and Douglas Hotton, former head of DNR’s Deer Management Program said “deer numbers have little to do with the spread of Lyme disease.” In fact, he suggested that the very name “deer tick” is misleading.

    Barbara Metzler, a member of the Center for Disease Control’s Lyme Disease Task Force said “the name deer tick is a misnomer to begin with” and wrote “while deer and mice can both serve as hosts on which ticks harmlessly feed, only mice can transmit the Lyme disease bacteria to ticks. The deer don’t.”

    A Center for Disease Control researcher of the community-based Lyme Disease Intervention Study in Mendham Township and Mendham Borough stated, “We can’t target the deer for Lyme.”

    The USDA has said deer do not starve in Maryland.

    TODD HUFF is really clueless! The sad truth is now we will have to wait four years to vote in someone who speaks from knowledge and not hysteria!

    I wonder what he what excuse he will come up with when someone gets shot while walking in the park.

  • Steve K

    Doug… when parroting PETA talking points it’s beest to look for other sources of information that support those points.

    Ixodes dammini is responsible for most of the cases of Lyme disease in the northeastern United States. These ticks are found in grassy areas (including lawns), and in brushy, shrubby and woodland sites, even on warm winter days. They prefer areas where some moisture is present. The tick has three life stages: larva, nymph and adult. Each stage takes a single blood meal. They feed on a variety of warm blooded animals including man, dogs, cats, horses and cows. The bite is painless so most victims do not know they have been bitten. The nymphal stage appears to be responsible for most Lyme disease cases. Both the larval stage (about the size of a grain of sand) and nymphal stage (about the size of a poppy seed) attach to a variety of small mammals, but prefer the white-footed mouse, the main reservoir of the Lyme disease bacteria. The adult ticks (about the size of a sesame seed) prefer to feed on white-tailed deer. The entire life cycle requires three separate hosts and takes about two years to complete.

    Larval and nymphal deer ticks also attach to birds. Indeed, birds may be a primary means by which the ticks (some infected) are spread from one area to another. Some species of birds also function as a reservoir of infection.

    The deer do not transmit the disease, and no claim to that has been made here. Deer are the preffered host for the ticks, and it’s only simple math that says that with more hosts, there will be more ticks. Lyme disease is certainly not the strongest argument that supports hunting, but it is amazing to me that any argument is needed at all. Anyone walking through the woods in Maryland these days should be able to recognize the obliteration of understory caused by the explosion of deer populations. I can understand that some folks don’t have any idea what a healthy wooded area looks like, but I do, because I grew up playing in one. What we have today in too many places is a foreboding sign of the death of woodlots in Maryland(to those of us who can recognize it), and too many city/suburbanites with a voice, and not nearly enough education to go with that voice to speak knowledgably on the subject. They think deer are beautiful animals, and that’s enough for them. These are the voices, and people that are responsible fro demonizing hunters, and turning kids off to hunting, taking us to exactly where we are right now. While their intentions are honorable, they ace certainly not good, and it’s to forest, nesting song birds, rabbits, chipmunks, and other wildlive that is paying the price in lack of habitat destroyed by those beautiful deer.

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  • George

    Doug… There have been no injuires to any non-hunting individuals (bikers/hikers) since hunting was introduced in Liberty/Pretty Boy or Loch Raven.

  • George

    Doug… Deer do not starve in MD, really I guess you have never seen it so it doesn’t happen right?

  • Steve K

    George…. correction…. there is no recorded instance of a Bowhunter in the entire State of Maryland injuring a non-hunter according to DNR records. Hikers walking in the woods during deer season are as safe with hunters present as they are without hunters present. Any fear of Bowhunters is completely unfounded.

  • docmom

    shame on baltimore county if they try to allow this-my daughter and about 20 of her little 5th grade friends have launched a campain to stop this and signed a vow to chain themselves and us parents to trees on the day of the slaughter if this goes forward. there is good technology for birth control in winter food for the deer which works much better-of course that does not let and gun happy yahoos get their jollies mundering bambi where our children play. if these “men” want to feel more manly despite their educational and anatomcal inadequacies, let them join the military like real men.

  • 7 point Steve

    docmom … “celebrate diversity”means celebrating more than just what you as an individual approve of. It means allowing people to live their lives the way they see fit as long as they stay withing the law. If that doesn’t include hunters then you have a double standard to deal with. Clearly you have an agenda, and that agenda is the same one that has helped to create a massive overpopulation of deer in places all over the Country. Your closed minded, one size fits all attitude is not what this Country is about. Like it or not, about 20% of the population hunts, and 75% approve. Hunting has been around as long as hunanity has been around. It’s not going away any time soon. Diversity….. learn what it means please.

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