Animal activists drive deer slaughter out of Rock Creek Park two nights in row
On the evening of 28th of November, the Park Service set up the usual barricades and flashing lights indicating preparatons to shoot deer. By a little after 9PM they disappeared, protesters having threatened to deploy. The Park Service had warned people to be off the trails by 8PM on both Monday and Tuesday nights. They were expected to try again Tuesday, Nov 29 but once again did not show up. Protesters were there instead, and had announced they were coming. It had rained earlier too but the rain had stopped, fog was forecast. Never have the rangers and Wildlife "Services" ever showed up in rain, not exactly "real hunters." More like the hunted it seems.
It is unknown if the Park Service was prevented entirely from killing deer, set back up very late at night Monday after breaking down, shot deer south of Pierce Mill and nowhere else, or something else altogether. Back on Dec 7, 2015, barricades were all set up for shooting but everything disappeared in response to protesters setting up. Protesters were there until midnight, saw only a few Park Service vehicles. At the end of the year NPS reported killing approximately 20 deer that night. Unknown if they set back up 1PM or later or retreated to the Piece Mill area, which is now not legally accessable after dark. It does remain entirely accessable to direct action activists skilled in woods operations.
The Park Service released their 2016 announcement of the "cull" at a time suggesting a hurried response to an inquiry from animal rights activists, and the timing of the apparently cancelled deer slaughter on Nov 28 suggests an attempt to kill and be done before activists can respond. Activists will continue to patrol and monitor the woods, though so far only the cancelled shoot and a possible poaching operation (unconfirmed report of deadfall type deer trap near W Beach Drive) have been found.
Park Service vehicles, police and rangers showed up Monday night in all the usual places like Military Road, the area around the nature center and the stable, etc only to disappear at the first thought of camera-wielding protesters. As always, one of their greatest fears is that someone will get a photo or video of a deer dead or worse, dying at their hands. In past culls they have often hurredly disengaged when animal activists wielding cameras set up on Military road, cutting access to the Nature Center area for Park Service vehicles carrying dead deer and whose operators don't wish to be photographed. Night cameras just keep gettting better and better.
Update 10PM Nov 29:Report of active deer trapping (not shooting) off West Beach Drive, scout finds nothing. Source reported deadfall trap using sound lure to attract deer and "a log" presumably as a deadfall. Consensus is that this must be poachers, as the Park Service would be unlikely to use a deadfall. Heavy fog rolling in, signs becoming obscured.
Update 8PM Nov 29:No sign of the deer cull tonight, no barricades set up, no Park Service vehicles, nothing. Rain has stopped
Update 3PM Nov 29:The Park Service is scheduled to try again tonight, protesters will be at Military Road and Oregon Ave beginning at 8:30PM
Update 10PM Nov 28: Shortly after 9PM, the previously observed Park Service vehicles and lights were gone, and the barricades were set down out of the way, ready to be quickly set back up. It is unknown if this is with intention of returning later the same night or on Tuesday, Nov 29.