ANNAPOLIS - Two federal sharpshooters hired by the state Department of Natural Resources killed 48 deer last week at Sandy Point State Park.
The department acted to reduce the deer population after receiving complaints from residents about the animals, said Paul A. Peditto, DNR director of the wildlife and heritage service.
Residents, who learned of DNR's plans at a meeting last month, have complained for a decade about a high incidence of Lyme disease, car crashes and other problems because of the deer, Peditto said yesterday.
"We had close to unanimous support for this," Peditto said.
DNR hired two "deer control operators" from the wildlife services arm of the Department of Agriculture, and they shot the animals Monday and Tuesday.
Peditto said the shooters focused on antlerless deer, which are more likely to reproduce. The 48 deer that were shot accounted for about half of the estimated total near the park, Peditto said.
After DNR officials tested the deer for disease, about 2,500 pounds of venison was donated to local food banks.