Dead deer alarm Timonium residents Poaching feared in Wakefield and ln reservoir watershed

November 11, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

The residents of a Timonium neighborhood are angry about possible deer poachers in their quiet community bounded by the Loch Raven Reservoir watershed.

They are particularly concerned because hunting is banned on the 3,100-acre expanse that provides drinking water for most Baltimore City residents and many in Baltimore County.

Hunting also is not allowed on homeowners' property without permission, state officials say.

But in the past two weeks, five dead deer have been found in the Wakefield community off Dulaney Valley Road, one with a gunshot wound, said Bill Murray, president of the Wakefield Improvement Association. Details of the deaths of the other deer were not available.

Also in the last two weeks, two razor-sharp hunting arrows were discovered near homes, adding to residents' worries about their safety.

Deer bowhunting season opened in September. Firearm season starts Nov. 29.

"I'm really afraid someone is going to be hurt," said Lisa Duke, whose family dug out an arrow embedded in their backyard fence last week. "We were a little shocked."

Although the reservoir is in Baltimore County, the city-owned property is maintained by the city's Department of Public Works, which oversees the Baltimore Watershed Police that patrol the area.

"We've heard the reports," said Kurt Kocher, acting chief of the department's information services, adding that watershed officers have been responding to neighbors' calls.

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which also has received several complaints about gunshots and bowhunters in the area, said it is aware of the problem and is monitoring the situation.

"That type of activity should not be occurring," said Richard McIntire, a DNR spokesman.

No one has been charged with illegal deer hunting near the community.

Many blame the incidents on the growing population of deer in the watershed. The deer have shown up in increasing numbers in Wakefield and nearby communities.

"We have a deer problem. That's the real thing behind this," said Murray, who has lived in the community for 14 years. "I'm not pro- or anti-hunting. But we have such an imbalance. It's a real concern."

Neighbors say deer are ravaging their shrubs and trees and eating ivy growing on houses.

"This past year has been the worst. It's incredible," said Murray's wife, Helen. "They eat everything."

A DNR study confirms a large herd of deer at Loch Raven. "We're maxed out," said Kocher, citing such findings as 145 deer per square mile in one area and 80 deer per square mile in another.

Kocher said the DNR study will be passed on to Baltimore Public Works Director George G. Balog with recommendations. Then, a community meeting will be held on the issue.

Wakefield is not the only neighborhood in the county experiencing problems with dead deer or poachers, said Baltimore County police Officer Eileen Cwalina of the Cockeysville Precinct. "Usually this time of year, we do get calls," she said.

Police recommend that residents post "No Trespassing" signs on their property and call authorities with complaints.

Meanwhile, Wakefield residents are keeping vigilant, Bill Murray said.

"To have this occurring in a residential area. That's disconcerting," he said.

Pub Date: 11/11/96

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