Purcellville Leaders Explore Aberdeen Deer Hunt Options

The planting of more than 100,000 young trees on the Town of Purcellville’s Aberdeen tract has given renewed urgency to controlling the deer population on the 189-acre property—and that means a whole new debate over who should participate in hunting there.

For the past several years, the Town Council has wrestled with criticism of the previous policy to only allow the town staff to hunt on the property atop Short Hill near the town reservoir.

During their July 27 briefing on the proposal, several Town Council members continued to raise those concerns, finding the staff’s proposal for a managed hunt to be overly restrictive.

Earlier this year, the town planted some 111,000 trees on the property to create a nutrient bank, from which the town can sell credits to developers. As part of that program, the town must maintain the trees at a density of at least 400 trees per acre. While the contractor planted 1,200 trees per acre, disease, drought, insect infestation, weather, and overgrowth are expected to reduce the number of surviving plants. And, with an estimated 150-180 deer living on or passing through the property, town leaders are worried some of those plantings could be viewed as tasty snacks as food sources become scarce. 

Under the plan proposed by the top town staff, a managed hunt will be permitted during archery season, starting Oct. 2. In addition to town employees, six residents—subject to an application fee, a criminal background check, and a skills qualification test—would be selected by lottery to hunt on the property during the season.

The town staff also wants to explore a formal culling operation. That would only involve members the Police and Public Works departments soliciting the permits for a managed hunt to reduce the deer population to a level that ensures the sustainability of the nutrient bank. That exercise was described as a tactical-like operation, with police using rifles and night scopes.

That proposal also raised concerns. Mayor Kwasi Frazer said the state has not previously approved culling programs to protect plants. Members also questioned why residents would not be invited—or trusted—to participate in the hunts with firearms.

2 thoughts on “Purcellville Leaders Explore Aberdeen Deer Hunt Options

  • 2021-08-10 at 3:09 pm

    Deer are a much bigger problem than just this tract. We need to remove the bag limits for doe and dramatically cut the number of deer in Virginia and everywhere else on the East Coast.

  • 2021-08-10 at 5:43 pm

    It seems these days the only natural predator for deer is a Buick.

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