Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MARYLAND NEWS: Loch Raven Deer Cull Expanded

This year's managed deer hunt around Loch Raven Reservoir, which began Sept. 15 and continues until Jan. 31, 2010, will include 800 additional acres compared to last year's hunt, and will include an area accessible to disabled hunters.

A total of 2,400 acres of the reservoir's 8,000 acres, up from last year's 1,600 acres, will be open to bow hunting, according to Kurt Kocher, spokesman for the city's Department of Public Works.

The city department owns and manages the reservoir property outside of Towson.
Bow hunting for deer at Loch Raven Reservoir is allowed from sunrise to sunset until the end of January and will continue seasonally thereafter.

There is no hunting on Sunday.

"I think we made it clear last year that we were going to try it out and, if it worked out, then we would open up the rest of the area that we could," said Kocher.

He said continued hunting in the area is required because the deer population is "still above a number that is sustainable."

Last year, city and county officials said a large deer population was responsible for destroying undergrowth of the forest.

That destruction was leading to a decline in water quality in the reservoir, and also starving deer, they said.

"This wasn't just a public safety and environmental issue," said Don Mohler, a county spokesman. "It was very inhumane for the deer who are starving."

Deer were also involved in a number of car accidents.

Most of the additional acreage is in the northern areas of the reservoir property.
The city also has opened up a portion of the property on Dulaney Valley Road near Jarrettsville Pike that will be accessible to disabled hunters, Kocher said.

"Basically, it's an area where we could make it easily accessible for people in wheelchairs to get in and get out," he said.

The city had received one request for such access from the wife of a hunter who uses a wheelchair, Kocher said.

City and county officials unveiled the planned expansion at a meeting for community association representatives in Towson last week.

Only two people attended and both were in favor of the expanded hunting areas, according to both Koch and Mohler.

Last year was the first year the city opened the reservoir to deer hunters
Areas around the Liberty and Pretty Boy reservoirs have hosted similar hunts, without incident, for nearly four decades, officials said.

The 2,400 acres open to hunting this year do not include some of the southern most areas of the reservoir, which are near the dam as well as large numbers of housing developments and public activity, according to Kocher.

Those areas were later part of a hunt by professional hunters hired by the county.
Kocher said it is unlikely that any other areas of the reservoir will be opened to non-professional deer hunters.

"You never say never, but never," he said.

In all, about 400 deer were taken from the reservoir area between the managed bow hunt and the professional deer hunting, Kocher said.

Source: Explore Baltimore County

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