Friday, January 15, 2010

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Deer Culled in Norristown Farm Park

Hunters killed 44 deer in Norristown Farm Park Wednesday during a controlled hunt to trim the herd.

Forty people were picked in a public lottery Dec. 5 at the park’s headquarters to participate, but fewer showed up, according to Montgomery County Communications Director John Corcoran.

“Forty hunters were selected and five standbys, but there were only 32 hunters (Wednesday),” he said.

Overpopulation of deer in the Farm Park has wreaked havoc on the ecosystem, totally denuding wooded tracts of vegetation up to five feet above the ground, making the hunt necessary, said Corcoran.

The hunters were armed with 12-gauge shotguns containing slug ammunition; no buckshot was allowed. Shotguns using slug loads have a limited range but more stopping power, thus reducing the chance of a wounded a deer fleeing the park and onto nearby roadways. Also, all participants were required to hunt from a tree stands equipped with safety harnesses.

The county’s Parks and Heritage Services seeks to bring the deer herd, which now numbers between 200 and 300, into balance with the one-square-mile park’s available resources. That still leaves much higher deer density than the nine to 20 deer per square mile level recommended by wildlife biologists.

“For us, it’s a land management issue,” Corcoran said.

The 44 deer culled from the herd included doe and buck, called “button buck,” too young to have grown antlers.

Hunters selected in the lottery were permitted to scout the prospective hunting area, and with park approval, choose a tree where they wanted set up their portable climber the day of the hunt. As well, hunters were prohibited from firing in the direction of roadways.

“They have regulations as to which direction you can shoot,” Corcoran said.

The Farm Park, which was be closed to the general public during the hunt, was closely monitored by law enforcement officials for safety and compliance.

Norristown Farm Park, located at the intersection of Germantown Pike and North Wales Road, is owned by the state and is operated by the Montgomery County Department of Parks and Heritage Services. The park is typically open for passive recreation seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. The park is also used for farming operations.

Each November, the county permits bow hunters to shoot deer in Lorimer Park near Abington.

Source: Times Herald

No comments: