Tag Archives: Patriot LWM

Patriot LWM in Montgomery Sentinel Deer Article

Doah! A Deer Problem . . .

County still searches for solutions to growing deer population

One of the county's many deer residents.  -PHOTO BY HELEN HOCKNELL
One of the county’s many deer residents. -PHOTO BY HELEN HOCKNELL

Published on: Thursday, September 29, 2011 CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE LINK

By Helen Hocknell – The Sentinel Newspapers

Scientists call them Odocoileus virginianus, Disney names them “Bambi,” but farmer Ben Allnutt just calls them “rats with antlers.”

As the growing population of white-tailed deer continues to create problems for Montgomery County, farmers, gardeners and county officials seek solutions.

In the early 1900s, deer were nearly extinct in this region due to unregulated hunting. Hunting restrictions and reintroduction efforts in the decades that followed contributed to a dramatic population increase that has negatively impacted farm production, compromised road safety, and thrown the forest ecosystem off balance.

“What you have in Montgomery County is the perfect storm,” said Joe Brown, president of Patriot Land and Wildlife Management Services, located in Barnesville, MD. His company works with land owners and local governments to provide a variety of environmental management services, including deer population control. “By taking away natural predators and limiting hunters’ ability to hunt, we’ve created their ideal habitat, which has lead to this population explosion.”

The rate of reproduction for deer is a big part of the problem. “Lifespan varies, but deer in suburban environments can live to 10-12 years, in absence of hunting or car strike,” explained Wildlife Biologist Bill Hamilton of the Montgomery County Department of Parks. Female deer can begin breeding at 1.5 years of age, and continue to produce fawns throughout their lifespan, generating as many as 1-3 fawns per year. “Does in good health tend to have twins and triplets during their prime,” said Hamilton.

This means population reduction efforts are most effective when targeted at mature, reproductive-aged females, since bucks can mate with multiple does. “It really goes back to an effort vs. results equation,” explained Brown. “Say you have three hunters, each with three hours a week to give. Each hunter kills a deer, but two kill a buck and one kills a doe. With the doe, you’ve essentially taken three deer out of the population, but the hunters who got the bucks just took one out.”

In general, archery season in Montgomery County is permitted Mondays through Saturdays, September 15 through January 31 each year, and is also open on the 1st Sunday in November.  Bow hunting is not permitted during the firearms and muzzleloader seasons.  Firearms season occurs for two weeks, beginning in late November and again for two days during early January.  Hunters in the county may use shotgun, muzzleloader, and archery equipment during the firearms season.  Muzzleloader season occurs during Mid-December and runs for approximately two weeks, typically ending around January 1.

While the county has eased restrictions in the past to include more Sundays and extend the season, some hunters still feel that the county could do more to encourage hunting.

“A lot of hunters are working people who don’t have as much free time except on weekends,” explained Wayne Long of Laurel, MD. “The way the regulations are set up, that leaves only Saturdays or maybe holidays, which may mean only one day for several weekends,” said Long. He has used a crossbow in the past, but prefers hunting with traditional firearms like muzzleloaders, which is restricted to only a couple weeks a year.

Another obstacle for hunters is simple: limited freezer space. “A hunter may harvest one or two deer per season because that’s all their personal freezer capacity allows. They aren’t going to kill an animal for the sake of killing it – that’s illegal and not what the sport of hunting is about,” said Agricultural Services Manager Jeremy Criss of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. So the county partnered up with Patriot Wildlife Management Services to coordinate the collection, processing and donation of venison to local area food banks. They set up cold boxes in Poolesville and Laytonsville where hunters could drop off field-dressed deer. In the 2010-2011 season, 401 deer were donated, providing 16,040 pounds of venison for food banks across the county.

The county also organizes a managed deer hunting program from late October through January, which hunters can apply to online after demonstrating knowledge and experience by completing a state-approved hunter safety education course and passing a background check. This year, managed hunts are scheduled to occur in eight locations.

“We currently have an active roster of approximately 325 approved participants,” said Hamilton, who explained that they typically remove approximately 500 deer annually through that program.

“We also utilize specially trained Park Police officers to remove deer during hours of darkness in specific parks.  This method is highly effective, but more costly than managed hunting, and can occur in more developed areas of the county. We remove 450-600 deer annually from approximately 11 park locations using this program,” explained Hamilton, adding that this method of removal allows them to meet standards of humane euthanasia as established by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

But in the city of Rockville, Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio doesn’t feel an organized hunt would be appropriate. “I’d like to see if there’s a way we can deal with this issue without resorting to culling the herd,” said Marcuccio. “My fist concern is, what are you saying to children? If something’s in your way, to just kill it? We have to manage the surplus, but you’re talking about trying to do some kind of major event in a city which is heavily populated that already has gun control rules that prevent you from firing a fire arm within city limits.”

While county and city officials work to figure out appropriate solutions for their jurisdictions, the impacts of deer overpopulation continue to present challenges to farmers and gardeners. The economic damage caused by deer eating farmers’ crops is significant, as a single deer can consume up to 2,000 pounds of grain per year.

“In 2004, farmers came to the county government and said that the greatest threat to Montgomery County agriculture is the white-tailed deer,” recounted Criss. The farmers showed aerial photos of their fields that illustrated stunning losses per acre.

“Well, people aren’t going to buy half an ear of corn with a big bite out of it,” said farmer Ben Allnutt of Homestead Farms, “and you can’t have people coming in to pick strawberries and have them kneeling in deer poop.”

Ten years ago, Homestead Farms was suffering such high crop losses due to deer browsing that they were at risk of going under. “We had to do something,” said Allnutt. “We could go out of business, or put a fence up.”

Allnutt invested around 65 thousand dollars to put up roughly 3.5 miles of fencing around 270 acres of crops. They used their own labor and planned to pay it back over five years, but the fence paid for itself in just two. “After two years, we were struggling with high yields,” explained Allnutt. “When you don’t have anything missing all of a sudden, you get a real handle on what they were actually consuming.”

While farmers seek ways to mitigate crop damage on a larger scale, frustrated gardeners have turned to everything from cayenne pepper, coyote urine, and intricate nets and fencing to protect their plants. Sherrye Schenk at the Potomac Garden Center says that while they don’t carry products that contain coyote urine because of inhumane collection methods, there are lots of other great products that work well if used correctly.

“If the plant is not edible, I would recommend a Liquid Fence. It’s basically rotten eggs and garlic,” said Schenk, adding that it can protect your garden against rabbits as well as deer. It’s a spray, so it may wash away in heavy rain. “If you’ve got an all-day soaker, you may want to re-apply,” said Schenk.

For vegetable gardens, Schenk recommends Deer Scram. “It’s a powder, so just sprinkle a perimeter around your garden. It contains dried sow’s blood, garlic, white pepper, and cloves. Animals think something has died there, so they avoid the area.”

Putting up a physical barrier around your garden may work to keep deer out, but sometimes bucks’ antlers can get caught in netting. “If you’re doing fencing, you want to make sure it’s at least 7 feet high, otherwise the deer will jump over it,” added Schenk.

Meanwhile, deer over-browsing continues to throw forest ecosystems off balance. “It’s a huge problem,” said Forest Ecologist Carole Bergmann of the Montgomery County Department of Parks, which oversees 35,000 acres of parkland. “There are not many people to manage that area and a heck of a lot of deer,” she explained.

Bergmann described a “browse line” that is easily visible in areas with high population densities of the keystone herbivore. “It’s just a big blank space,” said Bergmann. “If you walk in the woods, there’s nothing from about 4 or 5 inches off the ground – no shrub layer, no understory layer – going all the way up to about 5 feet high where deer can’t reach.”

The effects can be seen all up and down the East Coast, and it is exacerbating the problem of invasive plant species. “Deer won’t eat the invasives – they’ll only feed on native plants,” explained Bergmann. This further endangers native species that are already struggling to compete with the recently-introduced plants that are taking over.

In the face of a complex and growing problem, some remain optimistic. “Montgomery County is unique – they have one of the most proactive park systems in deer management in the country,” said Brown. Unfortunately, officials face an uphill battle.

As Criss explained, “we’ve got a long ways to go, and in this economic environment, we’re not going to have as many resources available to deal with the problem.”

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Patriot LWM to Present at the 2011 Chesapeake Watershed Forum

Patriot Land & Wildlife is proud to announce that we will be presenting along side BlueWing Environmental Solutions & Technologies, LLC at the 2011 Chesapeake Watershed Forum organized by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

2011 Chesapeake Watershed Forum

The Chesapeake Watershed Forum is a three day/two night conference held in Shepherdstown, WV that brings together representatives from local watershed organizations and local governments to learn the latest restoration science and direction, network with other groups facing similar challenges, and be inspired to continue the work of preserving and restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The 2011 Forum will be held at the USFWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV.

It will be held on September 30th through October 2nd with two pre-forum workshops scheduled for September 29th.

The 2011 Chesapeake Watershed Forum will be broken into 6 tracks which aim to cover all aspects of conervation, outreach and restoration. Patriot LWM will present as part of Track 1, Science and Practice.

Track 1: B: Friday, Sept 30, 1:30 – 3:00 Biomimicry with Floating Wetlands

The workshop will provide general information on how the BioHaven floating wetland islands work, explain the science behind their development and function, demonstrate ecological and environmental benefits of the floating wetland system and show some projects undertaken in the US and around the world.


For more information on the forum CLICK HERE

2011-2012 Montgomery County, MD Deer Donation Program Information

Coming off another record season last year with over 400 deer donated to the program, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development Agricultural Services Division has announced the continuation of the program for the 2011-2012 hunting season. All needed information is on the below flyer, please print this information out and pass it along. We are looking forward to another great season thanks to the help of Montgomery County’s hunters!

Deer Donation Flyer 2011

Patriot LWM on “Voice of Russia Radio” – Maryland Tackling Deer Overpopulation


Spotting a deer in nature is often an exciting thing. For many it’s a graceful creature that makes one think of Bambi and other gentile animals. But when deer populations grow too big they can be a safety hazard to human populations, as well as the ecology of an area. Currently, the city of Rockville, Maryland, is looking for ways to control its deer population, which has caught the attention of Bob Barker, the former host of the Price is Right and nationally known animal rights activist. He has written an open letter to Rockville, asking officials for other options than hunting the deer. Joe Brown, President of Patriot Land and Wildlife Management Services, Inc., who is also President and co-founder of Western Chesapeake Watershed Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association, and Jonathan Kays, a natural resource extension specialist with the University of Maryland Extension, talk about how to solve the problem of oversized deer populations.

Click HERE for Voice of Russia Website

Shepherd University Magazine Article Featuring Patriot President Joe Brown

The latest issue of the Shepherd University Magazine (Fall 2011) includes an article featuring Patriot LWM President Joe Brown. You can view the external link to the article HERE or read it below.

 

 

Firefighter Joe Brown ’08 is an environmental entrepreneur  

By – Jillian Kesner, Staff Writer

Joe brown ’08, owner of Patriot Land and Wildlife Management Services, Inc., came to Shepherd in 2001 after he was recruited from his Poolesville, Maryland, high school to play football. He played four seasons with the Rams as an outside linebacker and studied environmental studies and resource management.

Joe chose Shepherd because the University offered the degree he wanted to pursue and it was near his family and hometown. He lived for three years during his time at Shepherd at the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department, where he volunteered in the evenings and on weekends. His studies at Shepherd were put on hold twice—once in November 2004 after his childhood best friend was killed in the line of duty in Iraq and again the following spring when he was offered a position with the District of Columbia Fire Department. With 12 credits remaining, Joe accepted the position and took classes part-time, finishing his degree in 2008.

Patriot Land and Wildlife Management began in 2005 when Joe was looking for an internship for his degree. “I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t find a company that did all the things I was interested in,” he said. “The degree path I took at Shepherd gave me a little taste of everything—forestry, soil science, lakes and rivers. I decided I wanted to do a little of everything. There wasn’t a company that could handle everything a client would need when it came to land, water, or wildlife, so that’s why I started the company.”

His company started from humble beginnings, Joe said. “The first year or two were slow; it was just an idea,” he said. “I worked 12-14 hour days all the time.”

The company started as a property management firm, managing private farming acreage in Montgomery County, Maryland, with the principal purpose of helping older farmers and land owners who still loved their farms but were unable to continue farming. “We wanted to be one of those companies that helps them keep the farm going and didn’t want to see them lose it,” Joe said. “From there we started managing recreational hunting leases. We saw a need for all these other services and started to expand into what we are doing now.”

Patriot Land and Wildlife Management now employs from three to 10 employees through the year, depending on the season. Clients range from private landowners and investment firms to local, state, and federal governments as well as nonprofit agencies and land trusts.

“We have a lot of services we can offer,” Joe said. “Many people say we do too much and we need to concentrate on one thing. What we’ve found is that we are more than capable of doing each of the things that we do and doing them well. When a client brings us in, it may be because they’ve heard of our wildlife management skills. We may get in there and other issues may come up.”

His client base has grown by word of mouth. “It’s taken these six years to get the reputation we have, which is finishing jobs that we start. We try to do those extra things that set us apart from other companies,” he said.

Joe said that he has been working with the creators of BioHaven Floating Islands to turn them into the best management process and see how they benefit water treatment and how they will impact the future of ecological restoration. “Hopefully we are in on the ground floor of that,” he said. Last summer, a 250-square-foot BioHaven Floating Island, which controls algae and other growth in storm water management ponds and other bodies of water, was installed in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor by Patriot Land and Wildlife Management in partnership with the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Baltimore Waterfront Partnership, and Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technologies.

“They’re seeing a lot of big results and hopefully that will lead to some solutions in restoring the Chesapeake Bay through the different tributaries,” Joe said.

Joe also is working on a research project with the University of Maryland which focuses on storm water management ponds for poultry farms on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and nutrient management within those ponds.

“The company is full service—land, water, and wildlife— pretty much anything that a client would need, from reforestation to wetlands mitigation,” he said. “By being a young company, we aren’t tied to what’s been the standard practice for the past 20 years. We’re out there looking for new, innovative technologies.”

Joe also owns a subsidiary of Patriot Land and Wildlife Management called Patriot LWM Outdoors, which he says is mainly a marketing tool for services and products related specifically to outdoors recreation and hunting. Patriot manages just over 5,000 acres in Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland.

The first company Joe started in 2004, Black Dog Guide Service, which he co-owns, specializes in waterfowl outfitting service based in Montgomery County. Clients include current and former professional athletes, and the outfitter works to provide free recreational opportunities to injured soldiers and Marines from the Walter Reed Medical Center through Project Second Chance.

He still keeps in touch with Shepherd professor Dr. Peter Vila. Joe said he loved learning from him. “He’s been a good resource for me to just check in with him and let him know about what we’re doing,” he said. Because of his ties to Shepherd and a desire to see students afforded the opportunity to find a variety of internships, Joe has recently been working with faculty members to partner with the environmental studies department to provide internships.

Since graduating from Shepherd, Joe has continued to serve with Truck Company 17 for the D.C. Fire Company and is also a Captain for the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department in Landover, Maryland. He continues to play football and serves as the general manager for the D.C. Generals, a professional police and fire charity football team. The team plays five games a year with teams from other major cities. All the money raised goes to select charities.

“It’s unique because the competition level is really high, and it’s a way to give back to the community,” he said. Jillian Kesner

“Water (for the) World” – Maryland Life Article Highlights Floating Island Project

Clean Water Maryland Initiatives

Photo by Christopher Myers - Maryland Life

Countries Taking Notice of Maryland’s Efforts

By Ryan Schultze – Patriot LWM

Living within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and more specifically, a stone’s throw from the Bay itself, we are fortunate to have a variety of people helping to improve it. For decades now the Bay has been suffering poor health from pollution and nutrient overload and virtually every species of wildlife has suffered the consequences. While it is true that the Chesapeake Bay Watershed consists of 6 States, Marylanders feel the repercussions the hardest, because all their environmental problems run right into our Bay. To make matters worse, Maryland’s booming development due to its proximity to Washington, DC is aiding in the loss of crucial wetlands which help to filter and remove these pollutants and nutrients from the equation. New technologies are giving conservationists new tools to do battle with, though.

Implementing clean water initiatives is tough work, but somebody’s got to do it, and we have the perfect backyard to prove their worth – the Chesapeake Bay. A recent article in Maryland Life Magazine by Donya Currie highlights some of these very issues-“With its 41 million acres of watershed and 200,000 miles of shoreline, the Bay is the most-studied estuary—which, by definition, contain salt water, fresh water, and brackish water, a mixture of both—in the world”.

Of course, every Country on the planet is experiencing these same water quality problems, also. Well, we must be doing something right. Maryland is doing so many things so well that other Countries are taking notice. The Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP) is a new initiative bridging public-private partnerships to address the massive water, energy, and pollution prevention issues throughout the Asian continent, highlighting local clean-water technologies being implemented in Maryland.  “Maryland is well-positioned to help in the quest for cleaner water, both thanks to the natural backyard laboratory that is the Chesapeake Bay and because a trove of scientists, engineers, and business owners has come together to showcase the viability of new technology for pollution prevention and cleanup.”(Maryland Life)

On the leading edge of water quality improvement using new technology are our partners at BlueWing Environmental Solutions and Technologies, one of the partners of MD-AEP. BlueWing and Patriot LWM are constantly promoting BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands, which have shown time and time again their benefit across the State in aquatic situations when it comes to water quality improvement. “They’re a concentrated wetland, and they’re made of all recycled materials, which is cool,” says Ted Gattino, a managing partner of the Ellicott City-based BlueWing Environmental Solutions and Technology. “They can be placed in almost any water body. The reports keep getting better and better.” “The Chesapeake is probably farther ahead than many areas in the world in starting to have integrated solutions to energy and the environment and agriculture” says Dr. George Oyler, founder of Clean Green Chesapeake. That being said, Maryland’s leadership in this battle to reclaim the Bay is surely turning heads elsewhere in the world, with other countries looking to us as an example. (Maryland Life)

For a comprehensive read about these new technologies being implemented, check out the attached link to the Maryland Life article “Water (for the) World”.

http://www.marylandlife.com/articles/water-%28for-the%29-world/

Patriot LWM Member Photo Featured in Local Wildlife Story

Just a few weeks ago, in late July, Patriot LWM volunteer Holger Kray of Darnestown, MD put out some trail cameras at a Patriot LWM managed property in Darnestown – one that is blessed with a variety of wildlife, but suffers from a significant degree of trespassing and poaching. A few days later, Holger returned to gather the camera and see what pictures it had taken. Unexpectedly, he got one picture of an early morning invader that no one really expected to see in this suburban area, and no, it wasn’t a sasquatch. As land and wildlife managers, it is our job to keep our eyes peeled and ears tuned in to what is going on and informing our clients and communities of what we see and experience, and offer our professional opinion. It’s amazing how social media keeps us informed – from trail camera picture, to a Tweet, to a news story in just hours….Take a quick minute for a great read posted in the NorthPotomac-Darnestown Patch!

Coyote Spotted in Darnestown

“Coyotes don’t normally pose a threat to people, but there’s always a risk.”

By Glynis Kazanjian
August 4, 2011

A coyote was caught on film roaming the grounds of a private farm in Darnestown in the early morning hours of July 31. Holger Kray, a Darnestown resident and volunteer with Patriot Land and Wildlife Management, said he set up a trail camera there, along with various other properties in the area.

Patriot LWM helps landowners with environmental improvements and wildlife management.

Kray sent the photo of the coyote out in a Tweet earlier today. He said he didn’t do it to alarm anyone.

“We’ve had several sightings of coyotes,” Kray said. “It’s fascinating to inform residents of the beautiful and diverse wildlife in a suburban area. I’m a true wildlife enthusiast.”

Kray said coyotes are present in the area, but should not be considered dangerous to human beings, including children. His neighbor spotted one four weeks ago on Berryville Road in Darnestown, and his wife saw one on their property last year.

Kray said coyotes are here as a natural migration and that they are afraid of humans.

“Their first choice is to run away from humans. This is why you hardly ever see a coyote. They feed on small rodents, on little deer and human beings should not be afraid of them. The same holds true for foxes, dogs and cats.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the government agency that manages coyote sightings in the state, said there is no available estimate for how many coyotes there are in the county, only that coyotes have a presence in every county of the state.

“It is a very rare and exciting experience to see a coyote. People normally don’t get to,” said Patricia Allen, Wildlife and Heritage Information Manager at DNR. “Coyotes don’t normally pose a threat to people, but like any wild animal, there’s always a risk.”

Allen said wild creatures are allowed to roam freely, but there are biologists at DNR who study their behavior. There are also two hunting seasons for coyotes: the firearm, bow and crossbow season, from October 15 to March 15, and the trapping season which runs from November 1 to January 19 in Montgomery County.

County residents who are concerned about coyotes may call the DNR nuisance hotline at 1-877-463-6497.

To view the Patch website story, please visit http://northpotomac.patch.com/articles/coyote-spotted-in-darnestown#c