by Berks County
August 30, 2022
Berks County is preparing to start the second year of the Antietam Lake Park Deer Management Program in September to help reduce deer populations to lessen any negative impacts to the park and create a balanced ecosystem. The Antietam Lake Park Deer Management Program is a joint venture between the Berks County Department of Parks and Recreation and USDA Wildlife Services that was approved by Berks County Commissioners in April 2021 .
The main goals of the program are to reduce damage to park lands and forest properties, minimize the threat of disease, reduce deer-related accidents, and rebalance the ecosystem. The white-tailed deer is one of the most influential wildlife species in Pennsylvania’s forest ecosystems. However, when their population is out of balance with their habitat, deer can negatively affect county forests and parks by excessively browsing on tree seedlings, shrubs, and wildflowers. Excessive grazing alters the diversity and habitat of other forest mammals and birds, removes the shrub layer, greatly reduces the diversity of forest floor plant species, and creates a risk of flooding.
The program will start on September 17 and will run until January 28, 2023. During this period, there are only three Sundays the program will operate: November 13, 20 and 27. This is a controlled hunting program that will involve the use of archery. by experienced archers only, in accordance with all Pennsylvania Game Commission rules. Participating hunters were selected after completing an application process, passing a proficiency test, and attending an orientation that included hunting safety and ethics. All hunters will carry a hunting license card for identification purposes. Hunting is permitted from 30 minutes before sunrise and continues until 30 minutes after sunset. No hunting is permitted in the parks without permission from the USDA Wildlife Services with a valid permit.
All hunters who would like information on how to participate in the program should contact the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department at 610-372-8939 or via email. [email protected].
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