Deer Management Program
Striving for Sustainability in our Parklands
THE ROLE OF RECREATION AND PARKS IN DEER MANAGEMENT:
The Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks will monitor deer impacts on County parkland and will apply appropriate management options. The Department, through its stewardship of over 15,000 acres of parks and dedicated Natural Areas, is a major provider of deer habitat in the County. No effort to reduce these impacts can succeed without addressing the deer populations within parks and open space.
We are very concerned about the impact that deer have on native plant and animal communities. Dense deer populations negatively impact forest regeneration, natural succession and biological diversity. Deer also impact threatened or endangered species by selective feeding which removes some plants from an ecological community while fostering the spread of other, perhaps undesirable species. This environmental damage to forests often goes unnoticed by the public because it takes place gradually over time. The public has spent millions of dollars to purchase natural lands and forests for recreation and to protect the Chesapeake Bay. The Recreation and Parks Department, as the steward of these county-owned parklands, has an obligation to practice habitat stewardship which will protect and preserve these forests for decades to come.
This large population of white-tailed deer in Anne Arundel County also increases the risk of serious vehicular collisions, damages agricultural crops, and ruins residential and commercial landscaping. Deer are implicated in the spread of Lyme Disease, and can serve as a carrier (vector) for other diseases that may affect people, livestock or other wildlife species.
Various park agencies (for example, Howard and Montgomery counties) have found it necessary to implement deer management programs which include population regulation when it is determined that natural resources are being negatively impacted by deer overabundance. While research continues into other management alternatives, population reduction is likely to remain the only viable means of preventing or eliminating ecological damage caused by overabundant deer.
The Department of Recreation and Parks views population management as a tool that can be used as needed to achieve the desired goals. It is committed to achieving those goals as safely, humanely and efficiently as possible.
In December of 2008, County Executive signed into law a change to the Anne Arundel County Code 9-1-601(d) and 14-2-117 enabling the discharge of firearms on County Park Property pursuant to a wildlife management agreement.