Sharpshooter is hired to kill deer in county

March 05, 2006|By TYRONE RICHARDSON

Howard County has hired a state-qualified sharpshooter to decrease the population of white--tailed deer in the county, officials said Friday.

The sharpshooter will be working immediately before and after sunset this month on two county-owned sites - Alpha Ridge Landfill on March 14, 21 and 28 and Blandair Park on March 16, 23 and 30.

The measure is being used to help bring down the white-tailed deer population to about 15 deer per square mile. The estimated deer population is 400 deer per square mile at Blandair Park and 62 deer per square mile at Alpha Ridge Landfill, said John Byrd, chief of the county Bureau of Parks and Program Services.

This is the first time that Howard County has used this form of deer control, officials said. Another form of deer control the county uses is its annual hunting program.

The program starts in late October and ends in February. The county selects 125 volunteer hunters, requiring them to be able to shoot accurately. Byrd said 177 deer were killed during the hunting program that ended last month.

Officials said the sharpshooter will use a highly accurate and quiet rifle in addition to night-vision and infrared-viewing equipment.

The sharpshooter program has been used in Montgomery County, Fairfax County, Va., and by U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

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