Hunters work to control deer population in woods behind school

Keegan Dant, Naina Tsarni, and Vijay Vanathayan

Since September, hunters have been given permission to hunt deer with bows and rifles around the Gaithersburg park area, including the woods behind our school, in efforts to control the local deer population.

The local deer population has outgrown its environment; there are too many deer for the land that they occupy, and people have become increasingly less tolerant with them.  In order to solve these problems, the Department of Parks in Montgomery County have established two programs: a Managed Deer Hunting program and a  Park Police-based Sharpshooting program.  

“I was a little bit alarmed at first,” principal Carol Goddard said.  Over the summer, Goddard had a meeting with the park police regarding safety risks for the students and staff.  Goddard was reassured when she was told that safety precautions were put in place.

Junior Harrison Deist has walked through the woods to get to school before.  “I’m not scared. They’re hunting deer, not people,” Deist said.  “There’s too many deer.  They pretty much have to kill them.” deer map

The hunters must have licenses to hunt, and only six of them are allowed to shoot at a time.  There is a creek behind the school that separates it from the hunting zone, and the hunters are not allowed to hunt when the cross country team is practicing or has meets.

“We do run through the woods, so I wanted to make sure we weren’t in danger,” physical education teacher and cross-country coach Jay Tringone added.   

Non-lethal solutions to the problem, such as immunocontraception and surgical sterilization,  have also been proposed.  However since the deer population is so spread out throughout the county, and there are some areas with less deer population, non-lethal solutions aren’t as effective.

IMG_4791Kevin Finn

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