Lake Linganore’s homeowners association is considering a management plan that would let 20 bow hunters kill deer in designated areas away from homes.

The Lake Linganore Association has been looking at how to reduce its deer population since September 2015, said Brett Hamilton, the operations manager. He and a resident drafted the policy, which would allow a small number of applicants to bow hunt in nine areas on Jan. 3, 5, 10 and 12, 2017.

The plan opened for public comment on Oct. 14 and will remain open for at least 30 days.

At least seven deer were presumably struck and killed by vehicles inside the community this month. Four homeowners called the HOA for dead deer in their yards; three other deer were found on the side of the road and removed by maintenance staff, said Bob Kimble, the general manager of Lake Linganore Association.

“Would you rather have a deer hit by a car and suffer or shot by a hunter?” Kimble said.

Lake Linganore is facing a similar deer problem as other suburbs, and considered what other communities do about large suburban deer populations. Nearby, the board of directors for the Spring Ridge homeowners association announced in November 2010 that, after a little over a year of consideration, it would allow controlled deer hunts with bows as “the most efficient way to mitigate this problem.”

Montgomery Parks, in Montgomery County, is piloting a controlled deer bow hunt this year in Germantown and Potomac, according to its website. The parks already periodically close for annual shotgun hunts.

The federal government plans to have sharpshooters kill more than 400 white-tailed deer at Monocacy and Antietam national battlefields this December to prevent damage and lower populations, The Associated Press reported.

At Lake Linganore, the backyard of Lauren Menendez’s house faces the woods where one proposed hunting zone is. The mother of a 7-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, she is concerned that her youngest could see a dying deer, even though the hunts are scheduled to take place during school hours.

A deer could be struck during the hunt and run several hundred feet before going down, Kimble said. Nonhunters assisting with the hunt will make sure no residents are injured by wounded animals and that animals are not left in surrounding yards.

Menendez said deer are familiar with her property and could easily run out of the hunting zone.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources estimates the rural deer population in areas that could be hunted at 214,000, down 81,000 from its peak in 2003, said George Timko, who has worked at DNR for 24 years. Timko is the only dedicated staff member for urban and suburban deer populations.

A majority of the state is privately owned, and the agency cannot manage deer on private property. Timko said he can only estimate how many deer live in developed parts of the state from sharpshooting kills and voluntary reporting of deer struck by vehicles.

Menendez has seen deer around the community and the edges of the streets, but has never come close to striking one with her car. The cause of the problem in Lake Linganore, where the speed limit is 25 mph, is speeding, not deer, she said.

Speeding and distracted driving is a problem within the private community, said Bill Zboyan, who moved to a house above the lake in 1991 with his wife, JoAnn. He has repeatedly contacted the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office about speeding and wears a reflective vest to make sure drivers can see him when he walks.

Development of the area has cut down on the deer habitat. The deer population might be too high to be sustainable, Kimble said.

Deer could starve during the winter, he said. There is no undergrowth in some areas of Lake Linganore. The hope is that remaining deer will be healthier and stronger because of the reduced population.

“It’s not something we wanted to do in the beginning,” Kimble said of the management plan, “but one of the things we needed to do for the health of the [deer] herd.”

Cost of nonlethal options

The Lake Linganore Association brought in Timko in February to advise the community, Hamilton said. The community had three options: Do nothing, sterilize or use lethal methods.

Amy Burkall, a research associate at the biotech company Lonza, has lived in Lake Linganore with her American Bulldog-Rottweiler mix, Scrappy, for two years. Burkall prefers a nonlethal option, such as birth control.

GonaCon, the only federally approved chemical sterilization method for deer, slows population growth rather than cuts it down, because deer are not killed. It would cost $800 to $1,300 to tranquilize, chemically sterilize and tag each deer through a contracting company, Timko said. Deer can be surgically sterilized, but that can be equally expensive.

“I’m a conservationist, so I believe there are ways we can handle this,” Burkall said.

Burkall and her neighbors are used to seeing about five deer each day on their cul de sac. When there are fawns, she has seen as many as 12 together. Nature and wildlife are some of the community’s advertising points, and it seemed backward to kill deer, she said.

“The last thing we want to do is wipe out deer,” Kimble said.

The next move

The deer management plan has been altered several times. The board of directors has not voted whether to change the rules and regulations of the community to allow hunting, which has historically been banned.

The only change not listed in the public copy of Lake Linganore’s plan is language the board requested adding nonhunting volunteers, who will attend the hunt and maintain public safety, Hamilton said.

The HOA is seeking to get DNR involved in the hunt in a nonhunting and observational role, Kimble said. Otherwise, the HOA will ask the sheriff’s office to send a deputy to help control the public from disrupting the hunt.

Burkall plans to be on the periphery of the hunt to observe and make noise to scare deer out of the area, she said.

Bill Zboyan contacted multiple animal advocacy agencies, including The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA.

He also contacted the Bar Association of Frederick County and his personal attorney looking for someone to work pro bono against any potential changes to rules and regulations or the covenant that prohibits hunting in Lake Linganore. None have committed to the case, but he plans to try several more.

The HOA hosted a public information session on Aug. 20. The plan has been on the HOA agenda during its September and October meetings.

Menendez, Burkall and Zboyan all said they did not think the HOA adequately notified homeowners about the deer management plan.

As of Friday, the HOA had received 35 comments from residents, Hamilton wrote in an email.

The board voted at its October meeting to start accepting hunter applications. Hamilton said he has received 12 applications.

The plan states: “The areas accessed for the hunts will be marked with signage notifying that the area is in use for the deer management hunt. In order to participate, a person must pass a shooter proficiency qualification test, which has been adapted from the Maryland standard.”

Participants may not have been guilty of a Maryland game law violation within the past five years.

“I think the whole proposal was written with safety in mind,” Hamilton said.

Follow Samantha Hogan on Twitter: @SAHogan.

Samantha Hogan is the state house, environment, agriculture and energy reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(14) comments

amyb

I attended the Board of Directors meeting on Nov 7 and confirmed that they have ZERO data on the white tailed deer population number or gender ratio for Lake Linganore. The goal of the hunt proposal is to reduce the population of deer and ostensibly enact biological change to the ecosystem. The BoD loosely uses the term “over populated” but without census numbers how can this be proven? Our healthy deer population is at carrying capacity which is self regulated via the reproduction features of the deer themselves: they reproduce when there are resources, the does (female deer) reabsorb their embryos when there are low resources. Deer evolved these features long before Lake Linganore was built. Killing off deer in winter will increase resources for the survivors and they likely will have twins resulting in more deer. So then will this hunt become annual? Lake Linganore is NOT a game reserve; Maryland has plenty of hunting territory already. When attempting to enact biological change one must think scientifically; targeted sterilization provides specific control of the population allowing healthy deer to exist in a humane setting, which they have the right to do.

B2650

Excellent points Amy. The proper research has not been done by LLA Management and LLA Board of Directors. Approval of this program is just another slap in the face to most members who oppose this by the LLA Board of Directors and Management. It's always been that way in my 26 years as a member and I'm glad my wife and I will be departing this nonsense real soon!

B2650

I totally agree with all those that do not agree with this issue. I am a member of Lake Linganore Association.This issue will be decided by the Board of Directors at the December BoD meeting per Mr. Kimble and Mr Hamilton at LLA Management. It is being done as a change or addition to the Rules and Regulations and not the Covenants. This means that the Board may approve this by a majority yes vote. All members of LLA can sign up at the beginning of any Bod Meeting and they are allowed a 3 minute floor at start of meeting to voice their comments.The December meeting is too late to slow this down or stop this. I encourage all members to attend the November board meeting on Monday November 7 at 7PM at the lLLA office. Sign up before the meeting and get your 3 minutes to voice your thoughts to the board. Let's get this delayed so the membership can give their full review of this issue before allowing the BoD to railroad us again! If you can not be there make sure you go to the LLA comments forum and post to it prior to the cutoff of the forum which is quickly approaching in early November. Unfortunately your comments will not be heard in Public until the December BoD meeting when the issue will be presented for vote before the Board.

smo0625

I agree with the statement about speed being the issue, not deer. Being a 10 year resident of Lake Linganore, I've never hit a deer and I travel everyday early in the morning. Actually, anytime I travel while dark out I slow down under the speed limit knowing the deer population. I enjoy seeing the deer and their babies move around the community. The HOA needs to focus on the people speeding up and down our community roads first. Those folks can kill people.

Terrijean

I think this is a great idea. Much better than hiring sharp shooters to thin out the population. How does one go about registering to be apart of this hunt?

thevoiceoffrederick

how do the multi million dollar homes in the community of Potomac deal with their over population? they live with nature, I mean that is why you move to the area, I not against hunting as long as the deer are used to feed people versus killing, we do need a balance and the deer are very destructive to nature leaving their own version of clear cutting which leads to bad run off, and much more, but I do believe they were here first

public-redux

Not Bambi's mother!

ea40west123

There is an over population of deer. More hunts should be allowed and some of the deer should donated to the food bank. Sorry this won't be popular with a lot of people, but there are a lot of people needing food...

Howard H

1) The MD Dept.of Natural Resources (MD DNR) recommends that communities 'collectively' decide how deer should be managed. Residents should receive an initial survey for their views on deer management.
2) Lake Linganore residents received no survey, nor any current opportunity to cast a definitive 'yes' or 'no' vote for the current bow hunting proposal. (The proposal was published Oct 14th, due for a sign up starting in Nov). It looks less like a 'proposal', and more like a 'done deal' being pushed through.
3) The first option for deer management (according to MD DNR) in a residential community is: 'no action', which the LLA followed for years, with a 'no hunting' covenant. Deer hunting is not considered a 'must' in a residential community.
4) The LLA promotes itself as a 'nature' friendly' community (with a photo of a deer on it's website under 'amenities'). It will be a far different picture in January, with bow hunting deer taking place in nine wooded areas (many near homes): areas that residents usually take walks in with family and pets. (Food 'lures' are put in place in woods, by hunters, to attract deer. Also to consider, deer hunting does not provide an 'instantaneous' death for deer.)
5) Hunting (bow hunting) is being pushed through supposedly as a 'preemptive' move, based on the 'maybe' that deer 'might' overpopulate in the future, due to continued loss of habitat This is predicated on an assumption that deer are somehow confined to the perimeters of 'Lake Linganore'. In reality, deer can, and do, move out of areas as loss of habitat continues..
6) Instead of a community decision, the decision to allow bow hunting in Lake Linganore has been set up by one LLA staff member (does he live in the area?) and one resident. Not only does their decision summarily bypass the supposedly binding 'no hunting' covenant; apparently the 'temporarily designated hunting areas' rules will be violated, too, if wounded deer are followed into, and killed in local neighborhoods .
7) There are plenty of State lands for people to hunt on. Why should a few individuals turn a residential family community into a personal hunting ground?


mikec

Point number 4, "LLA promoting itself as a nature friendly community," is just slick marketing and lip service. The lakes are filthy, the trees are being bulldozed, traffic is a mess. Being a nature friendly/oriented community is just another ploy by greedy developers and LLA to continue to line their pockets with $$$$.

rmbaker09

A lot of assumptions and unknowns in your points #4,5,6,7 that are pretty baseless. Seems wise to float those ideas out there to the masses to support your agenda. This worked fine in your neighboring community Spring Ridge and I don't ever remember hearing any horror stories/complaints due to wounded animals, errant shots etc... Maybe if people took advantage of the fact they live in an HOA community and are encouraged to actively voice their opinions BEFORE a decision is made we wouldn't have people throwing their arms in the air for no reason. In reality it appears you have 15 days left to voice your opinions and get your neighbors on the other side of the fence to buy into your thoughts.

mikec

With Lake Linganore Association (LLA), everything is done with smoke and mirrors, at least with regard to residents. Developers have the ear of LLA, residents take a back seat.

mikec

Funny how Lake Linganore was founded/started as a community to blend in with nature. Now trees and green spaces are the enemy, as it's all bulldozed in the name of "progress". Blaine Young, Kirby Delauter, LLA Association, Dan Ryan Homes, Miller Homes...etc, have ensured that Lake Linganore will forever be changed for the worse. It was good while it lasted.

Howard H

Totally agree. There is no community 'vote' for the bow hunting 'proposal'. It's just being pushed through. Deer (really, it looks just like a personal agenda for some) are to be killed in a preemptive move, in case they don't move on out of the area (as they have already started to do)..LLA has bypassed the 'no hunting' covenant, and now will allow hunters to pursue wounded deer into neighborhoods? The 'clear cutting' for new developments in Lake Linganore has now turned into 'clear cutting' the deer.

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