Ninety deer were killed during last fall's shotgun and bow hunts on the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge arranged by federal game management officials in an effort to reduce the size of the deer herd there.
The officials say more hunts are needed, but it may be up to a judge to decide. A federal court suit filed by animal-rights activists opposed to the hunting is pending.
Officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contend that the killing of 81 animals during the shotgun hunt and nine more that were felled by arrows still leaves the deer population too large for the refuge for bald eagles in southeast Fairfax County. Refuge manager J. Frederick Milton estimated the deer population in the 2,277-acre park at about 450 animals, still "three or four times what it should be. You're not going to take it down in one year."
Milton said he hopes to hold another hunt, but first U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson must rule on the suit filed by animal-rights groups.
Refuge manager J. Frederick Milton estimated the deer population in the
Ten animal-rights activists were arrested Dec. 3 during the six-day shotgon hunt opened at Mason Neck.
A Fairfax County judge last week put one protester, Jennifer Woods, on probation for a year.
Charges were dismissed against the other nine, all associated with the Silver Spring-based Fund for Animals. One of the protesters, Heidi Prescott, said the judge ruled that they were arrested on land where Fairfax County police do not have jurisdiction.