The higher the deer population at Neshaminy State Park, the slower the woodland regeneration that can take place.
Park officials hope to balance out this natural scale through their 15th annual archery deer hunt, during which they’ll allow 65 archers to “nock” and “loose” for several weeks this fall and winter.
Over the years, the deer hunts have reduced Neshaminy’s overpopulation, said park Manager Brian Heath, but officials aren’t out of the woods yet in dealing with the issue.
The carrying capacity of the 339-acre park is four individual deer, according to the state’s established species rates, but the existing population is a little more than 30 deer, said Heath.
“As you can see, we haven’t met that goal yet,” he said, adding that the existing population is “beyond what the park can healthily and safely sustain.”
Last year, Heath said, archers harvested eight deer total, including two that were counted as roadkill.
Bringing the archers into the picture can help retain the park’s natural resources, Heath said, as well as decrease the likelihood of deer-motorist encounters on nearby roadways.
The state’s archery deer season runs from Sept. 30 through Nov. 11 and Dec. 26 through Jan. 13, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
To qualify to hunt in Neshaminy State Park, archers must complete a permit application at the state park’s office and present state hunting and archery licenses, ID and vehicle registration by Sept. 11.
Park officials will issue 65 permits through a random drawing of eligible applicants at the park’s Pavilion 1 on Sept. 13. They’ll assign archers a six-day period to go after their prey — no hunting on Sundays — staggered throughout both stretches of the state’s archery deer season.
Each archer must attend a safety meeting at the park to review hunt rules and regulations…