Updated: Dec 3, 2020
The National Park Service (NPS) has begun its 2020 "Deer Management Program" in Rock Creek Park and its offshoots, including Glover Archbold Park in Glover Park. Have you been out after sunset in recent months to witness the parades of white tail deer moving across 37th Street from Holy Rood Cemetery to Whitehaven Park? Do your dogs constantly get the scent and the instinct to chase in the W Street dog park? Did you spot that fourteen point buck going up and down your alley? Have you been stepping in those deer pellets everywhere? The deer population has gotten to a dangerous and unsustainable level as they venture out of hiding in search of food. Though, our deer do seem to be pretty good at using crosswalks and yielding to traffic. Hmm, city deer.
Don't reach for the dusty rifle case in your attic, you are not invited. The NPS has sent in their crack sniper team (Deer Team Six) from the Department of Agriculture, armed with night vision goggles and infrared-scoped, silenced, short ranged rifles to take down the threat. They will be out after sunset lurking in the woods to bring down their targets. If you see an official-looking person blocking a trail, or the Metropolitan Police Department blocking a road near a trail after dark, likely they are not securing the site of an alien landing, but rather covering for the sharpshooters, to keep citizens safe. Apparently, this is the first time the hunters will be operating in Glover Archbold Park.
An excessively large and hungry deer population not only is a threat to drivers and pedestrians, but also to important and beneficial vegetation in our woodlands. Left unchecked, the deer would destroy the habitat for all other animals. "Excessive" is defined by the NPS as more than twenty deer per square mile of woodlands. Last year NPS collected 1300 pounds of venison and donated it to DC Central Kitchen. They plan to do the same this year, when food donations have been even more important for DC residents in need.