Deer hunt

Submitted photo

Park Ranger Donavan Newman looks over the shoulder of Bill McDonough, a member of the Friends of SML State Park, who works as the statistician for the hunt. McDonough records dress weight, spread and diameter of antlers, age and other data, which is reported to Richmond.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park Management conducted a deer hunt at the beginning of muzzle loader season from Nov. 4 through 12. Eleven zones were marked off in the park, and hunters registered in advance to get assigned to one of the zones. Hunters were required to take a doe before acquiring a buck.

Brian Heft, park manager, said this program has been conducted since 1995 and has proven that deer hunting at the park is a viable, cost-effective management tool. He said the goal is to maintain a healthy deer population and strives to diminish the deer crop damage levels, deer-vehicle collision rates and deer-ecosystem impacts.

He said this was an “excellent” year for the program, with a total of 49 deer taken, nearly totaling the program record of 51 deer. During the first week of hunting, there were 19 does and 17 bucks harvested.

— Submitted by Jim Gerhart, Friends of SML State Park

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