Bow hunt kills 11 deer, wounds 3

animal-rights advocates angry

Officials say effort needed to control size of herds

October 17, 2003|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Eleven deer were killed and three others were wounded in the first two days of bow hunting this week at Blandair, the undeveloped park in central Columbia, angering local animal advocates.

Phil Norman, deer hunting project director for the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, said three bucks, including one mature male and two younger ones, and eight does were taken by a total of 38 hunters in tree stands Wednesday and yesterday. Three deer were hit by arrows but ran away, Norman said, something that also happens during firearm hunts.

"We certainly want to have every animal killed cleanly," Norman said, but "in any hunt you have some unrecovered animals."

Ann Selnick, president of Animal Advocates of Howard County, a private group, decried the hunts and bow hunting in particular.

"If they think citizens believe killing 11 deer will solve the problem, they are deceiving themselves," she said about county officials. "They should just call it what it is - `recreation' for a handful of sick individuals who get a kick out of wounding animals."

FOR THE RECORD - Because of incorrect information provided to The Sun, an article published Friday in the Howard County edition about deer hunting in five county parks reported the wrong location for a hunt scheduled tomorrow. That hunt will be at David Force Park in West Friendship.
The Sun regrets the error.

County Executive James N. Robey, who approved expanded hunts in five Howard parks this year, has said they are needed to help reduce burgeoning deer herds that are damaging plants, causing collisions with vehicles and spreading Lyme disease.

To prevent the noise and danger of guns in Columbia, only bow hunting is permitted on 200 acres of Blandair, the portion of the former Smith farm north of Route 175 and east of U.S. 29. Hunters must be at least 150 yards from any occupied building and are confined to tree stands.

Hunts are limited to hours before 11 a.m. on school days to minimize contact with people. All hunters are screened and certified by the county, which has not recorded a hunting accident over the past five years.

But Selnick contends that state and county officials are really interested in expanding hunts, not curbing the deer population, to serve hunters and collect more licensing fees. Left alone, she argued, the deer would die off naturally when their food sources are gone.

Norman and other county officials deny that, saying the number of hunts was expanded to reduce the deer herds more efficiently. Other methods of population control are uncertain and don't work, they have argued.

The county-sponsored hunts will resume Monday at Alpha Ridge park in the western county, and will continue sporadically at the parks through Feb. 17, including at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, David Force Park, both in the western county, and at High Ridge Park, along the Patuxent River.

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