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PETA Sues to Block Managed Deer Hunt in Maryland

Travis Smola

PETA sues in attempt to stop urban deer management program

PETA wants to stop a deer management hunt using crossbows in Maryland.

Bethesda resident Eilene Cohhn has filed a lawsuit in conjunction with the animal rights organization in an attempt to stop Montgomery Parks from going through with management hunts set to start last Friday.

Cohhn and PETA claim using crossbows is not a humane method of hunting, and injured animals will end up in undesirable places as a result of the hunt.

“This is going to take place in areas adjacent to residential areas,” said PETA attorney Jeffrey Kerr. “You’re going to have bloody, horribly injured deer ending up in people’s backyards.”

Kerr advocated for non-lethal methods, but their lawsuit also surprisingly advocates firearms as a more humane method of population control. The parks department had been using sharpshooters for 19 years, but new regulations against use of firearms meant they had to find an alternative.

Cohhn and PETA claim crossbows often fail to kill deer quickly. Kerr even pointed to claims that it took 40 hours for Cecil the Lion to die when making his claim.

Their lawsuit claims deer can be left with wounds for weeks or months afterward. They also claim the hunts will “disturb the tranquility of the parks” and waste taxpayer dollars in their lawsuit.

PETA attempted to get a temporary restraining order against the hunt until the lawsuit could be heard. But a judge refused in Montgomery County Circuit Court. PETA was also stymied by attorneys of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in their efforts to delay the hunt.

Bethesda Magazine reports that deer populations in one park were as high as 67-84 deer per square mile. The parks cited car-deer crashes and Lyme disease as major factors making the cull necessary.

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PETA Sues to Block Managed Deer Hunt in Maryland