By Fort Meade Public Affairs Office
In a continued effort to reduce Fort Meade’s deer population to acceptable levels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services has scheduled an additional deer cull on the installation set to begin Jan. 22.
The target goal for a herd is approximately 12 to 18 deer per square mile. Fort Meade’s population is currently measured at 37 deer per square mile.
The objective for this year’s cull is 100 deer.
Overpopulation is detrimental to the deer and the installation. According to the Fort Meade Environmental Division, damage to forest regeneration and impacts to landscaping caused by the deer are evident throughout Fort Meade.
In addition, despite slow speeds on post, deer-related vehicle accidents are still an issue on the installation, causing safety concerns.
There were 13 deer-related traffic collisions reported to the Directorate of Emergency Services on Fort Meade in 2014; 14 in 2015; and 14 in 2016.
Fort Meade’s deer population flourished in the enclosed area over several years. Hunting has not been allowed on Fort Meade for more than two decades.
Two USDA marksmen, teamed with a Directorate of Emergency Services representative, will conduct the cull between Jan. 22 and March 31.
The hours of the deer cull will be Monday through Thursday, after dark until approximately 1 a.m.
These times will help ensure the cull will not impact rush hour traffic.
Shooting zones will be directed away from structures, vehicles, equipment and bodies of water and focused on areas defined as having more than one deer.
The USDA Wildlife Services has a record of zero accidents and a 100 percent drop rate.
Like last year, a deer processor will prepare the meat for donation to the Maryland Food Bank. Fort Meade has donated more than 12,900 pounds of venison to the Maryland Food Bank since 2015.
Most of the meat was distributed to veteran-oriented charitable organizations.