The purpose of this plan is to continue the established framework for reducing deer damage to watershed forests and surrounding property, given the lack of native canopy species recruitment and documented depredation to adjacent landscaping and agriculture. Although these managed hunts are not designed as a recreational opportunity, it is important to note that public interest and participation in our Program is very high. The Program is a management tool in areas where deer have exceeded the carrying capacity of the available habitat.
Development surrounding WSSC watershed property has taken place at an aggressive pace, resulting in habitat reduction for the deer herd, while the deer population in general has been estimated to be many times the recommended carrying capacity. Estimates from within Montgomery and Howard Counties have ranged from 175 to an astounding 448 (FLIR count) deer per square mile in park areas. Deer densities over 15 per square mile can begin to cause ecological impacts to area forests, and the elevated deer population has resulted in severe damage to the watershed forest and its ability to sustain itself.
Concern for agricultural crops and landscaping as well as for the health and safety of nearby residents has increased. For example, we have been informed that 50% of the households in Fox Haven, an adjacent development in Howard County, have suffered cases of Lyme disease. Further, local conservation groups and agencies such as the Montgomery Soil Conservation District and the Forest Conservancy District Board have recognized the need to reduce the deer herd on area forest properties.
The DNR and WSSC watershed staff have frequently met with local homeowner associations and farmers in response to deer damage complaints.
All managed hunts end at 11:00 a.m. and hunters must sign out at Brighton Dam regardless of success.
Central Region Gwynnbrook Office (Area 5)
3738 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, MD 21117
Tel: (800) 628-9944
Baltimore City; Baltimore, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery counties
Central Region Commander - Capt. Ed Johnson
Central Region Area 5 Commander - Lt. Brian Albert