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Councilmen propose deer hunting in Baltimore Co. parks

A managed deer hunt in Baltimore County parks could happen under a bill introduced at Monday's council meeting.

Republican Councilmen Todd Huff and David Marks sponsored the bill, which would amend county code to permit a hunt in collaboration with the state Department of Natural Resources.

A study by a county environmental commission conducted more than a year ago determined that deer were causing severe damage in some parks, particularly Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, leading to devastated crops and greenery, and potentially increasing the spread of Lyme disease.

Michael Pierce, a Kingsville resident and member of the commission, said that he recently met with Huff and Marks to discuss his concerns. County code currently prohibits the use of firearms in county parks, except by police or military personnel.

The city of Baltimore has conducted a similar managed hunt with the Department of Natural Resources in the Loch Raven Watershed, Pierce said.

"To alleviate anyone's fears, I don't think anyone is suggesting open hunting in county parks," Pierce said. "I think we all wish there was a better way, but we've looked at the alternatives. There's really nothing that is as cost-effective."

Huff and Marks said they expect opposition to the bill.

"I know there are other ways to manage the deer population," Marks said. "But I think there are a lot of people who feel the deer can cause a lot of accidents and are intruding on private lawns destroying foliage. I think there are some larger issues involved."

Huff said deer are a major problem in his district, which includes some of the most rural sections of the county.

"By controlling the deer population, we can get more control over Lyme disease," Huff said.

The bill will be discussed at the council's April 26 work session.


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