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Maryland Judge Turns Down PETA Lawsuit Against Managed Deer Hunt

PETA
Travis Smola

Judge rules against PETA’s efforts to stop managed deer hunt in Maryland. 

PETA’s latest legal efforts to stop a controlled deer hunt have fallen flat in Maryland.

Bethesda Magazine reports Judge Steven G. Salant ruled a summary judgement against PETA and member Eilene Cohhn last Thursday after they sued Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission last year.

Their goal had been to put an end to a Montgomery County bowhunt aimed at reducing deer populations estimated to be as high as 67 to 84 deer in some area county parks.

“Although the judge agreed that slaughtering deer with high-powered crossbows is not ‘the most humane method reasonably available’ to kill deer, he has allowed the county’s cruel program to continue, leaving more Montgomery County deer to endure slow, agonizing deaths from steel arrows that tear through their flesh and rarely kill them outright,” said PETA’s attorney Jeffery Kerr.

But the Parks Department disagrees. They had set a goal of 30 or fewer deer per square mile. Bowhunting has been used for the last 19 years in the county parks due to regulations against the use of firearms in the parks.

“We have determined archery managed hunts are safe, lawful and effective way to address these requests in areas where firearms would create a greater risk,” Montgomery Parks principal natural resources specialist Bill Hamilton told Bethesda Magazine.

In spite of the lawsuit, Bethesda Magazine reports residents of the area have wanted expanded efforts to reduce deer numbers. Officials have also been concerned over diseases and car/vehicle accidents.

When this lawsuit was first filed last year, Cohhn and PETA attempted to get a temporary restraining order put in place to stop the hunt. Much like this latest case, a judge also refused to allow the order.

As has increasingly been the case with other arguments against managed deer hunts nationwide, residents may not have heard the last of it. “The county should live and let live, not kill and tear deer families apart,” Kerr said in a statement. Cohhn is considering an appeal in the case.

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Maryland Judge Turns Down PETA Lawsuit Against Managed Deer Hunt