Editor's Note: Today's feature first appeared in our companion service, The Archery Wire.
A judge in Bethesda, Maryland on Friday ruled that the Pilot Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program in two Montgomery County parks could proceed as planned, despite a desperate, last-ditch effort by the notorious and publicity-mongering animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to block the bowhunt through a court order.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Callahan denied a motion filed Thursday, September 10 for a temporary restraining order sought by Bethesda resident and PETA member Eilene Cohhn to stop the managed archery deer hunts approved earlier this year by Montgomery Parks.
Bethesda Magazine reported this week the ruling marked the second setback in two days for PETA's the effort to derail the archery deer hunt, after seeking an immediate restraining order upon filing the suit Thursday. Judge Callahan refused to issue the order before an initial hearing Friday, at which she formally denied the restraining order.
PETA's legal attempt served only to temporarily delay the parks hunt, which was originally scheduled to begin Sept. 11, the same day as the regular Maryland archery deer season. As a result, the bowhunts designed to control the problematic deer population were free to commence yesterday (September 15) at sunrise and will run through October 21.
The hunt will mark the first time the parks department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will use archers to safely cull the county's deer population.
The archery program utilizes pre-approved hunters to take part in managed hunts over a combined area of 733 acres in the Watts Branch Stream Valley Park in Potomac and one section of the Great Seneca Valley Stream Park in Germantown. Candidates for the hunting program were required to provide a resume outlining their archery-hunting experience and written, verifiable references. Further, hunters must have completed the Maryland Hunter Education and Safety Course and a National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) course.
Other participation qualifications included:
- Minimum age of 18 years.
- At least 3 years of archery hunting experience AND harvest records indicating harvest of at least 5 deer with archery equipment.
- Fulfillment of the requirements of a background check.
- Successful completion of Montgomery Parks Archery Shooting Qualification standards (at specified ranges, only).
- Current Maryland Hunting License and Archery Stamp.
Predictably, a statement issued by PETA this week contained the usual handwringing and anthropomorphic references to animals using human terms and pronouns.
"We are extremely disappointed by the ruling and deeply saddened about the fate of the deer, who are Montgomery County's gentle Cecils. The day will come when human beings must recognize that wild animals have a right to live on their ancestral lands and not be forced out and slaughtered simply for living as they have for generations."
Here at The Archery Wire, we believe the only thing better than a victory for bowhunting over animal-rights extremists will be the taste of venison loins in Montgomery County, Maryland during the coming weeks.
- J.R. Absher