The Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal to allow managed deer hunts at two Ashburn parks, a suggestion that received support from four supervisors during this morning's Transportation/Land Use Committee meeting
Since 2011, the county has held managed deer hunts at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve and in March the Board of Supervisors directed staff members to examine possible expansion of that program as a way to help address the county’s deer overpopulation and Lyme disease.
If the full board adopts the committee recommendations, bow hunters will be permitted at Ashburn’s Bles Park, located off Riverside Parkway, and Edgar Tillet Memorial Park, located of Belmont Ridge Road. A total of nine hunters is being recommended at both parks—five at Bles Park and four at Tillett Park.
Hunters would be selected by lottery and would be required to attend an orientation, qualify at a local range to show their shooting prowess, have a valid Virginia Hunting License, purchase the Loudoun County Hunting Permit and agree to allow all the needed deer biological data collected for staff to use for reporting purposes.
Each park would have hunting on three weekdays with two members of PRCS staff on site. The total cost associated with hunts at the two parks is estimated at $5,540, with revenue from the lottery registrations and the nine permits estimated at $1,070.
Originally, members of county’s parks and recreation staff recommended that shotgun hunting also be allowed at Tillett Park—noting the more varied topography—but concerns from supervisors removed that option.
“Because of the very close proximity of the residential areas and the fact that we still don’t have appropriate signage up there yet, there are teens and people cutting through that area all the time at all hours of the day,” Supervisor Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) said. “And it is a much smaller parcel as compared to Claude Moore or some others.”
Supervisors did question what “Phase 2” of the expanded hunts would be and Steve Torpy, assistant director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, said the staff anticipated bringing a follow up report to the board within a year to discuss the results of the expanded program, similar to what it has done with the Banshee Reeks hunts.
Torpy said, if the program were successful at the two new parks, the program could expand to other parks. Supervisors also noted that efforts are ongoing to consider allowing hunts in other parks in the county.
“We have had conversations with NVRPA and they have expressed some willingness to do this as well,” Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) said. “This is the beginning of the conversation.”