No Pain Felt by Deer in Sharpshooting Effort
The deer to be culled in the Chevy Chase portion of Rock Creek Park will feel no pain, a natural resource specialist with Montgomery Parks assured Patch.
When news broke about the upcoming culling of deer in Chevy Chase's Rock Creek Stream Valley Park (Unit 2)—the 277-acre part of the park between East-West Highway and the Capital Beltway—many Patch readers expressed concern for the deer, especially pregnant deer.
"I understand that there are too many deer. What I don't understand is why this hunt is in February and March when the female deer (doe) are heavily pregnant and ready to give birth. This just adds to the suffering..." Patch user Madelaine Waltjen Shedlick wrote in the comments section of a Jan. 9 Chevy Chase Patch story on the upcoming deer culling.
"I totally agree with Madelaine about the deer hunting situation. Please thin the herds in a humane manner so that we will continue to have the deer around but not endangering the drivers..." Patch user Richard Rice added.
Patch spoke with Bill Hamilton, principal natural resource specialist for Montgomery Parks, to learn more about the culling, set to start on Feb. 11.
The culling will be performed by certified police sharpshooters, who will use high-powered rifles to shoot the deer in the head, following the American Veterinary Medical Association's Guidelines for Humane Euthanasia of Animals. The shot causes severe concussive injuries to the brain, and the deer lose consciousness immediately. They do not feel any pain, Hamilton said.
"Deer ultimately succumb to hypoxia (absence/lack of oxygen to the brain), without having any sensation of feeling and/or pain," Hamilton wrote in an email to Patch. Pregnant deer do not feel pain when they are killed according to humane guidelines, Hamilton added.
Regarding deer pregnancy, Hamilton added that deer are in the early stages of pregnancy in January through early March, when the sharpshooting operations occur. Deer commonly are born during the month of June, Hamilton added.
"The timing of our activities are only considerate of deer pregnancy in regard to timing when young are dependent upon the mother," he wrote. When the young are nursing, sharpshooting doesn't occur, he added.