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Hunters bag 32 deer in managed hunt

December 09, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

BIG POOL - Hunters bagged 32 deer Tuesday and Wednesday in a special managed deer hunt at Fort Frederick State Park, officials said.

"We were pleased with that," said Ranger Scott Forrest, the hunt coordinator.

Hunting is normally not allowed in the 561-acre park, but officials have staged managed hunts for the past four years to trim a deer population that had gotten out of control.

Wildlife experts say the number of deer per square mile should be about 20. But Forrest said the park had between 150 and 200 deer.

Overpopulation of deer is a problem because they have no natural enemies. The deer have eaten much of the foliage that other animals depend on.

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A severe winter can lead to mass starvation among deer and diseases can spread quickly when the herd grows too large, Forrest said.

"We think we have a pretty good grip on the herd now. We're still seeing a lot of deer in the park," he said.

The hunters - 25 on Tuesday and 24 on Wednesday - were selected through a lottery in October, Forrest said.

All of the hunters had to demonstrate shooting proficiency.

The hunters arrived at the park at 5:15 a.m. and hunted from stands placed throughout the park. Each hunter had to maintain a shooting zone.

"It's a very controlled type of hunt," Forrest said.

Each hunter was allowed one kill, which did not count against the bag limit. Hunters were allowed to keep their deer, but Forrest said many chose to donate the meat to Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

Fort Frederick, which was closed to the public the past two days during the hunt, reopens today at 8 a.m.

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