Deer hunting will return to Antietam Lake Park this fall

Aug. 26—A deer management effort at Antietam Lake Park is set to continue this fall with a third round of hunting.

Berks County plans to allow bow hunting at the recreational area by a group of hunters who have secured special licenses starting in September. It is part of an ongoing plan to thin the large deer population at the park.

The controlled archery hunt will begin on Sept. 16 and run through Jan. 27. Hunting will be prohibited on Sundays with the exception of Nov. 12, 19 and 26. Hunting is permitted to take place from 30 minutes before sunrise and continue until 30 minutes after sunset. The hunters do get to keep the meat.

Hunting of any kind is not typically allowed in the park.

But in April 2021, the county commissioners approved a deer management program partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services based on recommendations in the Antietam Lake Natural Resource Stewardship Plan.

County officials said the program is meant to reduce deer populations until the negative impact to the park is alleviated, and then to maintain deer populations as needed to have a balanced ecosystem. The hope is that the program will reduce park

land damage, minimize the threat of disease, reduce deer-related accidents and rebalance the local ecosystem.

No hunting will be allowed in Antietam Lake Park without authorization from Wildlife Services and a valid permit. Archery hunters must follow all Pennsylvania Game Commission rules.

The hunters were selected to participate in the program by Wildlife Services through an application process. They were required to pass a proficiency test, and attend an orientation that covered safety and hunting ethics.

For more information or to get a waiting list to participate in future hunts, contact Wildlife Services at 610-916-1415.