Tell Montgomery County Park Service To Stop Wounding and Killing Deer

Tell Montgomery County Park Service To Stop Wounding and Killing Deer


Contact: Anja Heister, 406-544-5727,

In Defense of Animals Calls On Montgomery County Park Service To Stop Wounding and Killing Deer

Wounded, Mutilated Deer Found at Wheaton, Maryland Sharpshooting Site

Wheaton, Md. (February 28, 2013) – In Defense of Animals is calling on the Montgomery County Park Service to cease wounding and killing deer in the wake of the horrific discovery of a doe who was shot through the face and left to die in a public park where a deer cull is taking place. After an
outcry from IDA members, an online petition has been started to urge park officials to stop the killing and adopt a humane alternative.

Last Saturday, a Maryland resident walking in the woods near Brookside Gardens/Wheaton Stables was horrified to find a deer with her jaw ripped open. According to a former hunter familiar with deer culling operations, the wound was caused by a “small caliber exploding bullet” from a gun most likely used by Montgomery County Park Police sharpshooters who have been attempting to reduce the deer population in the area. The hiker had come to photograph wildlife and instead witnessed an appalling, gruesome scene with a frightened, suffering doe.

He took three photos of the injured doe, which can be seen here.  After repeated pleas from local residents, the Park Police finally went to the site where the wounded deer had been seen.  The terrified doe saw them and fled into the woods.

“This violence is unacceptable in the twenty-first century when we have a more progressive, cost-effective, humane solution to controlling a deer population,” said Anja Heister, Director, Wild and Free – Habitats Campaign with In Defense of Animals (IDA), a plaintiff in a pending lawsuit against the National Park Service (NPS) to prevent deer killing in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek National Park. “When deer are killed, others take their place, so shooting them solves nothing. In Rock Creek Park, the deer population has remained stable for a decade or more.” Heister continued, “The deer aren’t starving and there are only about 300 within the park’s 5-square mile boundary. Using contraceptives is the most economical, progressive way to control a deer population. There is no excuse for causing painful, prolonged deaths to these lovely creatures when we have a less-expensive, more effective, humane approach.”

Jessica Almy, one of the attorneys in the NPS suit, said “This incident illustrates that killing deer forever changes the character of a place, significantly diminishing the experience of visitors who may encounter dead or suffering deer, and who will simply stop visiting as a result. We call upon the National Park Service to rethink its decision to transform Rock Creek Park into the kind of killing field Montgomery County, Maryland has created at Wheaton Regional Park.”

Anne Barton, another plaintiff in the NPS lawsuit, said “This incident is heartbreaking but by no means unprecedented. There are many reports of deer who got away from deer culling to die slow deaths, often with no attempt to follow them to end the suffering. These include incidents with trained sharpshooters. For example, a New Jersey resident found a deer struggling to get up two days after a sharpshooting incident. The deer appeared to have been shot and left to die slowly for two days.”

A copy of the lawsuit against the National Park Service’s deer kill can be downloaded here.

Copies of photos of the injured deer can be downloaded here.