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Department of Recreation & Parks Announces Deer Management Operations for February & March 2020

January 22, 2020                

Media Contacts:
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Brenda Belensky, Natural Resources Conservation Manager, Department of Recreation & Parks, 410-313-4724

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – The Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks has announced its winter schedule for managing deer populations through sharpshooting. This program is held to help maintain a stable, balanced, white-tailed deer population on county park lands where deer browsing has been shown to reduce biodiversity.  

The sharpshooting program is different from the managed hunts, which were announced in August. Specially trained and qualified personnel using highly accurate, noise-suppressed rifles, will remove deer under a special permit issued by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. All the meat from this operation is donated to charitable organizations in the area, including the Community Action Council of Howard County’s Food Bank. Venison is a lean source of protein and has fewer calories and a higher nutrient value than other types of meat. High in iron, B12, B6 and other vitamins, venison is also relatively low in cholesterol compared to other meats. 

All properties will be closed to the public during the hours of operation, 3:00 p.m. to midnight. The sites and schedule for this winter are as follows: 

Alpha Ridge Landfill
March 11, 25

Belmont Manor 
February 5, 19

Dorsey Hall Open Space
February 11, 27; March 12, 24

River’s Edge Open Space
March 3, 17

Robinson Nature Center
February 4, 18

Timbers at Troy Golf Course
February 6, 20

Worthington Park
March 4, 18

Rockburn Park 
February 12, 26

Savage Park
March 5, 19

Deer population reduction programs, such as managed hunts and sharpshooting, are not possible in many areas of the county. To assist those who live in these areas, Recreation & Parks has developed a Deer Management Reference Manual. The manual, which is available at all the county library branches, contains information on the use of deer repellents, fencing to protect crops and property, how to avoid deer-auto collisions and Lyme Disease prevention. There is also information about the county’s deer management program available on the Department’s website at  

Recreation & Parks and the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service can also arrange to have experts on the topic speak to homeowner associations, schools or other groups. 

Other Recreation & Parks’ deer management programs include an effort to reduce ticks on deer using four-poster feeders baited with corn. Developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the devices deliver an approved pesticide to the deer and have been shown to reduce tick populations by 90 percent or more. Recreation & Park is also collaborating with the University of Maryland and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in an area-wide tick management study, which is investigating tick reduction practices and the movements of tick host species, such as deer and white-footed mice.

Since the deer management program began in 1998, there has been an observable improvement in habitat quality and vegetation abundance in many of the parks where managed hunting and sharpshooting has taken place. For more information on the program, call Recreation & Parks at 410-313-4724.