Purpose

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.

2022 Season

For the 2022 deer hunting season, WSSC Water will only be conducting six(6) Managed Deer Hunts. 
These hunts (shotgun only) are Disabled Veterans on Saturday, October 29; Youth and Women on Saturday, November 5; the 2022 Pilot Deer Population Management Program on Tuesday, November 29, Thursday, December 1, Tuesday, December 6 and Thursday, December 8.

  • If you desire to participate on NPLB Outdoors Veteran’s Hunt on Saturday, October 29 at Triadelphia, please visit www.nplboutdoors.org/veteran and complete a NPLB Outdoors application. If you desire to volunteer for this event, please contact Mr. Billy Dove at bdove5567@yahoo.com.
  • To participate on the Youth and Women Hunt on Saturday, November 5 at Triadelphia, please complete the WSSC Managed Deer Hunt application online below.
  • The 2022 pilot deer population management program is designed to meet the WSSC Water natural resources objectives with minimal impact to watershed users and staff. These hunts should not be considered a recreational hunting opportunity.  These hunts are to cull the size of the deer herd in an efficient manner. Hunters would be selected from previous managed deer hunt participations (2016 to 2019), harvesting records and availability to hunt on selected dates. WSSC Water will be communicating via email with deer population management program participants by Friday, October 14.

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 eddie.franceschi@wsscwater.com  or manageddeerhunts@wsscwater.com.
 

Need

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 WWTP. 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. 
  • 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 2022 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.

2022 Pilot Program for the Management of the Deer Population on WSSC Water Patuxent Watershed

The 2022 pilot deer population management program is designed to meet the WSSC Water natural resources objectives with minimal impact to watershed users and staff. These hunts should not be considered a recreational hunting opportunity.  These hunts are to cull the size of the deer herd in an efficient manner.  

This pilot deer management program will be evaluated after the four scheduled hunts.  If the number of deer harvested shows an improvement, the pilot program will be adopted, and sites will be selected for a reduced number of hunts to areas showing ecological damage due to herd sized.  Adjustments to the selection of future hunters would also be proposed.  

2022 Pilot Patuxent Watershed Deer Population Management

For 2022 the deer population management program would consist of four managed (4) hunts during the regular firearm season. The regular firearm season for Region B (includes Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s counties) starts on Saturday, November 26 and ends on Saturday, December 10.  Maryland DNR does not require registering hunts during the regular firearm season.

Hunters would be selected from previous managed deer hunt participations (2016 to 2019), harvesting records and availability to hunt on selected dates. Communicating with selected hunters would be via email. All hunters will be required to have a WSSC Watershed User Permit and a valid Hunter’s License issued by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). All established Watershed Managed Deer Hunt regulations pursuant to WSSC’s Code of Regulations, Title 13 Property Management, Chapter 13.45, Use Regulations for Triadelphia and T. Howard Duckett Watersheds, section 13.45.140, and applicable safety protocols will be implemented.  Only shotguns are allowed.  Smooth bore rifles and black powder rifles are not allowed. 

Each Patuxent Watershed hunting area are being selected based on the ecological impact the deer herds are having on the forested and native upland habitats.

Harvesting (Bag) Limits per Hunter (as per DNR regulations): 

  • Bag Limit for Antlerless White-Tailed Deer During the Firearm Season for Region B is 10.
  • Bag Limit for Antlered White-Tailed Deer During the Firearm Season for Region B is 1.
    • No more than 1 per day. 
    • No more than 1 in any weapon season.
    • With a bonus stamp, an additional antlered white-tailed deer during the firearm season for Region B can be harvested.

On Triadelphia Reservoir, three areas were selected:

  1. Big Branch Recreational Area scheduled for Tuesday, November 29.
    1. Hunt time would be ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 pm (noon).
    2. Sections BB1 to BB9 in Howard County with a maximum of 9 hunters.
  2. Pig Tail Recreational Area scheduled for Thursday, December 1.
    1. Hunt time would be ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 pm (noon).
    2. Sections P13 to P20 in Howard County with a maximum of 10 hunters.
  3. Greenbridge Recreational Area scheduled for Tuesday, December 6.
    1. Hunt time would be ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 pm (noon).
    2. Sections T8 to T13 in Montgomery County with a maximum of 10 hunters.

On T. Howard Duckett Reservoir one area was selected:

  1. Supplee Lane Recreational Area scheduled for Thursday, December 8.
    1. Hunt time would be ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 pm (noon).
    2. Sections S10 to S15 in Prince George’s County with a maximum of 10 hunters.

Poaching and illegal activities on WSSC Water Property

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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. Aaron Parker
Central Region Area 5 Commander - Lt. Brian Noon

More Information on Managed Deer Hunts

Last Modified: November 15, 2022, 5:22 pm EST