With more people than any other jurisdiction in the region, Fairfax County, Va., also has more deer than officials say is desirable. Saturday was the first day of the county’s annual program to reduce their number by archery.

Archery as part of a deer-management program inevitably evokes images of Robin Hood loosing arrows from his longbow in Sherwood Forest. But for deer-reduction purposes, Fairfax permits only crossbows and compound bows.

Both of those employ mechanical assistance in propelling arrows.

In Fairfax, the management program is aimed at controlling the number of white-tailed deer on public parklands, estimated at two to five times the optimum.

Goals include protection of human health and safety, curbing environmental damage, conserving biodiversity and maintaining the health of resident deer.

As deer populations have grown in many areas, concerns have risen about the dangers of collisions with cars. Fairfax officials said the county’s first fatal deer-car collision was in 1997. A deer-management program was ordered the next year, and use of archery is only one part of it.

The archery program runs from Saturday through Feb. 23.

Archers must meet strict standards, and the county said the program has proved safe.