Friday, January 26, 2007

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: No Hunt in Norristown Farm Park

COURTHOUSE - The Montgomery County commissioners have ruled out a public deer hunt this year in the Norristown Farm Park.

County Solicitor Michael D. Marino said on Thursday the county and park officials are investigating whether some type of contraception, such as darting, would work instead.

"We are just taking a step back to look at things," said Commissioners Chairman Thomas J. Ellis.

"But we are not going to wait too long because the destruction of assets is just awesome," said Commissioner James R. Matthews, citing the damage to park vegetation when there is an over-abundance of deer.

Last year's three-day shotgun hunt - the first ever in the 700-acre urban park that straddles Norristown, East Norriton and West Norriton - resulted in the slaying of 139 deer including 21 bucks and 118 does.

Animal rights activists strongly opposed the hunt.

However, county officials at that time maintained that the hunt was necessary to decrease the size of the park's growing deer population.

The state game commission had estimated that there was over 400 deer in the park in 2004. County officials added another 100 to that estimate following the 2005 spring fawning season.

County officials have estimated that the park can only sustain a herd of seven to 20 deer. This is based on a game-commission recommendation that a healthy deer population is about 10 deer per square mile.

The county last October held its sixth annual bow-and-arrow deer hunt in the county's Lorimer Park in Abington.

Some 47 hunters participated, bagging a total of 11 deer, including 10 does and one


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