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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.

2023 Season

For the 2023 deer hunting season, WSSC Water will only be conducting two(2) Managed Deer Hunts. 
These hunts (shotgun only) are for Disabled Veterans on Saturday, October 28 and Youth and Women on Saturday, November 4. WSSC Water is no longer accepting applications for the Managed Deer Hunts.

For archery deer hunting information, please review below under WSSC Water Archery Hunting Areas to access archery hunting information and maps displaying archery locations on both reservoirs.

For assistance regarding these outdoor recreational programs, please email the Patuxent Watershed Manager, Eddie Franceschi at  or


Development surrounding WSSC Water 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 Water watershed staff have frequently met with local homeowner associations and farmers in response to deer damage complaints.

Elements of the Deer Managed Program

Managed Deer Hunts        

  • Managed hunt areas are field checked by the hunt manager to determine the feasibility of hunting the area.
  • As in previous seasons, there are hunt areas on the Patuxent Watershed along the Triadelphia/T. Howard Duckett Reservoirs watershed and at the Piscataway WRRF. All have been hunted previously.
  • The number of hunters in each area will be determined by the hunt manager with DNR recommendations, and reviewed for safety considerations by the Office of Security and Safety Services.
  • Applications are available online below. 
  • Applicants may be approved to hunt on more than one occasion.
  • Hunt locations will be lottery style.
  • Watershed use permits are be required for all hunters over 16 and under 65 years of age ($5 per day or $70 per year).
  • Only one antlered deer may be taken per season per hunter.  However, the watershed manager may allow a second antlered deer on a future hunt if two antlerless deer are harvested and at least one of them is deemed mature. 
  • Quality Deer Management is strongly encouraged; hunters should target mature antlered deer.
  • Deer harvested will not count against the State bag limit.
  • All hunters must sign in at Brighton Dam Visitor Center on the morning of a hunt between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m.
  • All harvested deer on WSSC Water managed hunts must be checked in at Brighton Dam Visitor Center at the end of each hunt day.
  • All deer must also be checked in as required by State Regulations.
  • All Federal, State, Local and WSSC Water regulations apply unless otherwise noted.
  • All managed hunts end at 11:00 a.m. and hunters must sign out at Brighton Dam Visitor Center regardless of success.

Archery Managed Deer Hunting Areas 

  • Archery Hunting Maps are available below or at the Brighton Dam Visitor Center.
  • Watershed use permits are required for the 2023 recreation season.
  • Quality Deer Management is strongly encouraged; hunters should target mature antlered deer.
  • All deer must also be checked in as required by State Regulations.
  • All Federal, State, Local and WSSC Water regulations apply unless otherwise noted.

Poaching and illegal activities on WSSC Water Property


Central Region Gwynnbrook Office (Area 5)

3738 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, MD 21117
Tel: (410) 356-7060

Baltimore City; Baltimore, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery counties

Central Region Commander - Capt. Shawn Garren
Central Region Area 5 Commander - Lt. Brian Noon

Additional Information on Managed Deer Hunts

Last Modified: October 27, 2023, 8:33 am EDT