Appeal Filed Challenging The Use of Crossbows In Deer Management Program in Montgomery County, Maryland

Last week we filed a brief in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on behalf of Eilene Cohhn, a resident of Montgomery County, in an appeal aimed at stopping the Pilot Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program, which allows participants in the program to use crossbows, rather than sharpshooting, to kill deer in Montgomery County parks for the ostensible purpose of reducing the deer population.  Ms. Cohhn has challenged the method of lethal deer reduction as violating the Maryland Cruelty Code, which exempts hunting but only where “the most humane method reasonably available” is used.  Bow hunting, which results in many deer being wounded, but not immediately dying from their wounds, is not the “most humane method reasonably available,” as the trial court expressly found.  Nevertheless, the trial court ruled against the Plaintiff, stating that it “would find it somewhat inconceivable that a person who complied with all of the regulations of the Department of Natural Resources in bowhunting could be found guilty of animal cruelty.”  However, because Ms. Cohhn is not seeking to enjoin the recreational bow-hunting season, nor to hold anyone criminally liable, but rather to prevent a county management action from being carried out in a manner that violates the cruelty code, she has appealed this decision.

A copy of the brief is available here, and an article on the filing of the appeal, published in Bethesda Magazine, is available here.