Category Archives: Maryland Court

Maryland Court Rules in Favor of Bow Hunting

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has ruled that the Department of Parks in Montgomery County, Maryland is not violating animal cruelty laws by allowing bow hunting within the county’s park system. In August 2015, the county implemented a new deer conservation program that included bow hunting as a method to control local deer populations. The program was initially enacted in only two parks: Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and Watts Branch Stream Valley Park. A local resident filed suit against the Department of Parks in September 2015, alleging that bow hunting violates animal cruelty laws. Lawyers contested that deer hunted with bows are more likely to have a significant delay between being wounded and dying. The legal team argued that this makes bow hunting less humane than conventional hunting methods with firearms. Attorneys stated that the park system should limit food sources for its local deer population instead of relying on hunting to control the population.

A local circuit court ruled in 2016 that bow hunting in Montgomery County parks is not a violation of Maryland’s animal cruelty laws. The decision was immediately appealed, and the case was sent up to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. In 2017, a panel of three judges led by Judge Donald Beachley heard the case in the Court of Special Appeals. Beachley upheld the ruling of the lower court, declaring that Maryland’s natural resource laws do not protect deer in Montgomery County from being hunted with bows. He also stressed that hunting has been historically used as a way to successfully manage wildlife populations. In his decision, Beachley affirmed that as long as hunters have appropriate hunting licenses and do not use any poisons or explosives on their arrows, they are legally permitted to hunt deer in the Montgomery Parks system with bows.