Sharpshooting

Specially trained Park Police officers conduct sharpshooting activities at select parks to reduce deer populations and alleviate issues caused by high deer densities. These sharpshooting activities take place January 1 - March 31. The sharpshooting program is designed with public safety as the top priority. Sharpshooting activities will take place sunset to sunrise when parks are closed to the public.

Program Rules


The sharpshooting program is directed and supervised by the Department's Park Ranger Unit and Park Police Division. Officers participating in this program have received extensive specialized training.

  • Weapons are discharged only when a safe foreground and background to the target exists. 
  • Deer are removed safely, discreetly, and humanely. 
  • All deer harvested through this program are donated to local food banks to feed families in need.

Sharpshooting Locations


Sharpshooting activities take place at:

  • Randall Farm Maintenance Facility, Upper Marlboro, MD
  • Walker Mill Regional Park (farm/undeveloped side), District Heights, MD
  • Enterprise Golf Course, Mitchellville, MD 
  • Henson Creek Stream Valley Park, Fort Washington, MD
  • Watkins Regional Park (farm/undeveloped side), Upper Marlboro, MD (NEW for 2019)
Deer human interactions at Watkins Regional Park and the surrounding areas are very high. There are positive interactions wherein visitors can observe deer in their natural habitat. There can also be negative interactions such as deer-vehicle collisions, crop, and landscape damage, less forest understory due to deer overbrowsing the vegetation, abundance of non-native & invasive plants, and prevalence of Lyme’s Disease. 

Population surveys conducted at the park in 2017 and 2018 show deer densities that exceed the widely accepted level of 20 deer per square mile. The proposed reduction of the deer population at Watkins Regional Park will take place in February and March of 2019.

Additional Information


For questions or more information, please contact Deer Management. Public comment about the program, and existing and new sites can be sent via email.