97 Deer Are Killed In Two-day Park Hunt

Posted: January 17, 1993

Despite a steady drizzle, hunters bagged 26 deer Wednesday, closing out a two-day hunt in Ridley Creek State Park in which a total of 97 deer were killed.

Park Superintendent John Graham said 200 hunters participated on Tuesday and 179 on Wednesday, but some left early. . The maximum number of hunters allowed per day, selected by lottery, was 200.

"Hunters just don't have the enthusiasm when it's this wet," Graham said.

Despite the weather, "we've made a pretty good reduction," he said. Before the shotgun-only hunt, the deer herd was estimated at 220. The ideal range for the park is 80 to 100 deer, he said.

Hunts have been held at the 2,600-acre park in recent years to lower the deer population to reduce damage to vegetation and the risk of vehicles hitting them, Graham said.

A lottery was used to narrow the field of 700 prospective participants to 400 for the two-day hunt.

About 35 animal-rights activists, including representatives of the national Fund for Animals, went to the park Monday night to protest the hunt, said Robin Lord, the Pennsylvania coordinator for the group.

Lord said she objected to closing a state park supported by taxpayers' money "so a small population of hunters can go in and slaughter wildlife."

"There are nonlethal methods, such as contraception, to control the herd population," Lord said.

To protect vegetation, saplings could be tubed and deer confined to certain areas of the park, she said.

Graham has said, however, that the controlled hunt is the only economical way to control the herd.

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