Tag Archives: University of Maryland

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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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

PRESENTATIONS FROM SUBURBAN DEER MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP POSTED

The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Office has posted all the presentations and information from last months “Suburban Deer Management: Options and Choices for Decision-Makers” of which Patriot Land & Wildlife President Joe Brown was a guest speaker. The Forestry Resources Website has all the information you could need when it comes to making an educated decision regarding your suburban deer management issues.

CLICK HERE FOR PRESENTATIONS

Patriot LWM’s Ryan Schultze Presents on Deer Management at the University of Maryland

On Wednesday April 27, 2011, Patriot Land and Wildlife Project Manager Ryan Schultze was invited to be a guest speaker at the University of Maryland, College Park campus, to a senior-level Animal Sciences class about community-based deer management. “Critical Thinking” is the capstone course in the Animal Sciences Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, challenging students to analyze and solve a variety of real issues involving the dynamics between animals, wildlife, the environment, and humans.

The class was lead by invited speaker Nevin Dawson, Forestry Stewardship Educator from theUniversity of Maryland Extension. Nevin provided students with a background of white-tailed deer in Maryland and discussed problems caused by deer such as lack of forest undergrowth due to overbrowsing, ornamental vegetation and agricultural crop damage, Lyme disease, deer vs. vehicle accidents, etc. Several activities were facilitated for students to consider different situations involving deer damage and challenging them to think of ways to solve them.

To provide a real-world perspective of deer management and all the factors that come into play, Ryan Schultze of Patriot provided two case studies of community-based deer management, highlighting various challenges often faced when implementing a deer management program, specific successes of Patriot’s programs and how they affect the community, and how such programs are beneficial for stakeholders like farmers, homeowners, hunters, and the general community.

Patriot LWM President Joe Brown to speak at Suburban Deer Management Workshop presented by University of Maryland Extension

On Thursday, May 26th 2011 from 8:30am to 3:20pm, deer management professionals from around the state will be presenting to Maryland’s decision makers. The program titled “Suburban Deer Management: Options and Choices for Decision-Makers”, will cover a wide range of topics and issues faced by Maryland’s local government officials, land managers, park officials, police, homeowner associations and more.

Suburban Deer Management 2011 Brochure

Here is a press release on the program, sign up today:

REGISTER NOW! SUBURBAN DEER MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP

Local government officials, land managers, park managers, police, homeowner associations, non- profit organizations, private property owners, business owners and other decision-makers are invited to attend the workshop, Suburban Deer Management: Options and Choices for Decision-Makers, on May 26, 2011 at the Elks Club in Bowie, MD from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The workshop is being offered by the University of Maryland Extension in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Deer contribute greatly to our quality of life; however, they have become overabundant in suburban and urban areas, creating major challenges to local decision-makers on how to deal with citizens and their differing views on the issue. On one hand, there are serious safety issues to deal with such as Lyme disease and deer-vehicle collisions. Deer also cause extensive damage to residential landscapes, crops, and natural forests. Some think that populations must be reduced through lethal options and others think that only non-lethal means should be used, such as fencing, repellents, and managing vegetation. Some want a combination of the two.

The workshop is specifically designed for local decision-makers and managers to provide an opportunity to learn from case studies and current research what methods have been used, their effectiveness, and more importantly, how to implement a community-based deer management program in their area. The atmosphere will provide a comfortable learning environment where you can ask hard questions and learn from real life applications. Rather than be reactive, what you learn at this workshop will allow you to work proactively in your locale and, hopefully, avoid the pitfalls. Case studies of successful programs are showcased and the most up-to-date reference materials provided.

More information about registering for the program is available at http://www.naturalresources.umd.edu or by contacting Pam Thomas at the University of Maryland Western Maryland Research & Education Center at 301-432-2767 ext 315. The registration cost is $25 per person which includes lunch and materials.

Agenda:

8:30 a.m. Registration: Coffee and Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Welcome: Jonathan Kays
9:05 a.m. Overview of Deer Management in Maryland
Speaker: Brian Eyler, MD DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service• Population, hunting trends, responsibilities, CWD, upcoming issues
9:30 a.m. Impact of Deer Management Inaction on Natural Ecosystems
Speaker: Anne Hairston-Strang, MD DNR Forest Service
• Ecosystem impact of deer and ability to rebound
10:00 a.m. Overview of Deer Impacts & Effectiveness of Lethal & Non-Lethal Management Options
Speakers: George Timko, MD DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service, Kevin Sullivan, USDA-APHIS, and Jonathan Kays
• Trends in deer – vehicle collisions, lyme disease, agricultural & residential landscape damage
• Fencing, repellents, vegetation management, population management
10:45 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Best Practices for Implementing a Managed Hunt Program
Speaker: Phil Norman, Howard County Recreation and Parks Department
• Details, issues, logistics, and what to expect based on experiences of Howard & Montgomery Counties.
11:30 a.m. Utilizing Organized Hunting Groups & Contractors
Speaker: Joe Brown – Patriot Land & Wildlife Management Services, Inc
• Services provided and available to farmers, Homeowner Associations, local governments, and others.
12:00 p.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. Barriers & Pitfalls of Community-Based Deer Management
Speakers: George Timko, Kevin Sullivan & Jonathan Kays
• Brief overview of liability concerns, dealing with the vocal minority, paralysis by analysis, gaining consensus, and other realities.
1:15 p.m. Learning by Example: Community-Based Deer Management Efforts That Work
• 20 years of Deer Management in Montgomery County (Rob Gibbs, Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission)
• Accokeek Community Deer Program (Holliday Wagner & Byron Williams, citizens in the community)
• Managing Large & Diverse Properties Owned by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) – (Jim Benton, WSSC)
• Developing a Cooperative Management Program using Quality Deer Management Principles (Kip Adams, Quality Deer Mgt. Assoc.)
2:50 p.m. Question & Answer Session with all speakers – facilitated discussion and questions
3:20 p.m. Evaluation & Adjourn

Directions to Bowie Elks Club
1506 Defense Hwy, Gambrills, MD 21054
Phone 301-261-3260: http://www.bpoe2309.org

• From the Capital Beltway (Rt.95), exit on to Rt. 50 east toward Annapolis.
• Continue east on Rt. 50 until you reach Rt. 3 north towards Crofton.
• Exit onto Rt. 3 north and continue until you reach Defense Highway (Rt.450) east toward Annapolis. Make a right turn onto Rt. 450 east and continue approximately 2 miles.
• Elks Lodge 2309 is on the left side.