Deer Controversy in McLean

Whitetail deer, such as these photographed on Skyline Drive in early September 2012, were hunted by archers at Scotts Run Nature Preserve in McLean under the Fairfax County Deer Management Program. (Photo by Brian Trompeter)

The Fairfax County Deer Management Archery Program began on Sept. 12 and will run through Feb. 20, 2016.

Under the oversight of the Fairfax County Police Department and in collaboration with the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, authorities are conducting the archery program in parks and other locations throughout the county. Signs are posted in areas where archers are participating in the program.

The archery program began in 2010 and is part of an integrated Deer Management Program, which aims to reduce and stabilize the white-tailed deer population in Fairfax County and minimize safety and health hazards related to an overabundance of deer.  

Such negative impacts include thousands of deer-vehicle collisions, potential spread of diseases and environmental damage attributed to deer that can harm the entire ecosystem. The program was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2000 and is recognized as a safe and efficient method of deer-population control by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, officials said.

Fairfax County’s archery-program standards require that all archers meet state hunter-education and safety requirements; pass qualifications to demonstrate skill and marksmanship; and carry program identification.

All archers participating in the program also must pass a criminal background check. They are approved to hunt at assigned sites Mondays through Saturdays during legal hunting hours, which begin 30 minutes before sunrise and end 30 minutes after sunset.

Fluorescent-orange and -yellow signs are posted in parks where hunting is authorized. Harvest attempts will be accomplished from elevated tree stands; ground blinds are not permitted in county parks. Tree stands must not be located closer than 100 feet from property lines or closer than 50 feet from established park trails.

Because of its proven track record of safety, archery is a preferred deer-management method in Fairfax County. Virginia began tracking hunting injuries in 1959 and since then no injuries related to archery have been reported by bystanders anywhere in the commonwealth, police said.


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