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.

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