County Deer Hunts Start This Weekend

Deer on path near Lake ThoreauDeer management season begins this week in Virginia, which means many Fairfax County parks will have skilled volunteer archers at work controlling the deer population.

Fairfax County officials say archery “has been shown to be a safe and effective deer management tool to control deer populations on public and private lands in Fairfax County and other high-density jurisdictions.” Fairfax has been using bowhunters for deer management since 2010.

Parks and land near Reston include Fred Crabtree Park, Little Difficult Run, Difficult Run and Waples Mill Meadow. See a full list of locations on the Fairfax County website.

In 2013, the county archery program culled more than 1.000 deer. The county says 848 were killed by bow and arrow. Since Virginia began tracking hunting injuries in 1959, no injuries related to archery have been reported by bystanders anywhere in the state, Fairfax County officials said.

Archers are approved to hunt at assigned sites Monday through Saturday during legal hunting hours, 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset through Feb. 21. Florescent orange and yellow signs are posted wherever managed hunting activity takes place and archers must stay 100 feet from property lines and 50 feet from established park trails.

Reducing the deer population cuts down on thousands of deer-vehicle collisions that occur in Fairfax County each year, as well as the spread of diseases such as Lyme disease, says county police chief Edwin Roessler.

“Reducing the number of injuries and fatalities that result from deer-vehicle collisions is one of the primary goals of the deer management program,” Roessler said in a news release. “Deer management is an integral part of creating a culture of safety in Fairfax County.”

Meanwhile, private homeowners on Sourwood Drive in Reston may also be hunting on their properties soon. In late June, Reston Association approved the three homeowners’ request to hire a private deer management company to cull deer. The homeowners were concerned about the deer population damaging property and harboring potential Lyme Disease-carrying ticks.

The Reston hunt was supposed to be OK for this deer-hunt season, but an RA spokesman said insurance and other final paperwork has not yet been finalized.

RA says it will discuss its overall deer policy in a meeting later this month.

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