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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Archers killed 31 deer so far along Accotink Stream Valley

Since Fairfax County’s bowhunting program started Sept. 24, 31 deer have been killed by archers in parks along the Accotink Stream Valley, says Kristen Sinclair of the Resource Management Division of the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Bowhunting in county parks while people are walking on the trails with their children and dogs is “incredibly safe,” Sinclair said at a meeting of the Braddock District Council of Community Associations Oct. 12. Bowhunters have to pass a proficiency test, she says, and they shoot downward from elevated tree stands.

According to Sinclair, most of the hunting takes place in the early morning. Approved groups of bowhunters are permitted to shoot deer in their assigned parks Monday through Saturday from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Orange signs have been posted in parks where hunting is allowed warning park users to stay on the trails, but those signs are few and far between, and they don’t say anything about the use of archery to control the deer population.

Last year, 630 deer were killed as part of the county’s “deer management” program. Sinclair says archery is effective in reducing the deer population and that eventually the underbrush destroyed by deer will regenerate. Animal welfare advocates disagree, calling archery inefficient and inhumane.

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