On the 30th of March, protesters returned to Military Road and Oregon Ave. at least one protester showed himself to the police from the woods during the day. At night, patrol elements prowled the roads through and around the park, finding no sign of the massive police and Park Ranger presence that shielded the kill teams on Thursday night.
Protesters on the 30th of March stayed on site until well after USDA snipers were supposed to set up, and FOX News showed up at 10 PM. Shortly therafter, some of the protesters dispersed to begin hunting for the kill teams. By 3AM no sign of them had been found anywhere in the park, though they could have been carefully hiding in some of the more remote areas.Nobody heard shots, the only road closure was Beach Drive between the Zoo and Porter Street at about 2:30AM, well south of the reported hunt boundaries.
It appears that protesters suceeded in shutting down the deer shooting operation on Saturday night. In order to shoot deer, they would have had to greatly scale back to just a few locations deep in the woods, or shoot deer by the zoo, well south of the area they announced they would be killing deer within.
It is not known for sure why the killers did not show themselves on Saturday night. Maybe the laser sight incident on Thursday night forced the Park Service to revoke the contract of USDA snipers who pointed a weapon at a person. Maybe the reports of protesters in the woods who could not then be located deterred them. Maybe some other factor intervened-did the sequester somehow run them out of money?
As of 3PM on the 31st of March, the National Park Service doesn’t seem to be talking about the deer killing operation, we will know more in a few days. In the meantime, here’s my analysis:
The massive Thursday night security operation and the USDA snipers they shielded reported killing only 20 deer that night. A cop claimed the shooters killed 47 the next night, but where or when we don’t know, nor even if he was telling the truth. Quotas for the 3 day cull were originally set at 132 deer, later reported as being just 60 deer. With the kill teams either being absent, hiding, or showing up very late Friday night and in deep hiding or entirely absent Saturday, it is unlikely they were able to get anywhere near the original quota. Possibly the new one was to paper over a failed operation?
To kill 132 deer would have required killing 44 a night, each night. They were seriously short of that figure Thursday, despite their massive presence and were not seen anywhere on Saturday.
Whether the shooters showed up Saturday night or not, it is clear that protests and the dangers of possible hunt disruption teams in the woods seriously hampered their operations. Both where and when they could set up were reduced by the protests and action teams.
Like Sea Shepherd, we won’t know for sure until the opposition releases their final kill statistics for all three days. Like Sea Shepherd, the teams that scoured the park hunting the killers returned home with pride on Saturday night.
Wounded deer reported after Thursday night deer shoot
On Thursday night, neighbors reported hearing shots fired near Floral Street around Rock Creek Park, which abuts 16th Street in that area. One neigbor reported finding a wounded deer the next day or the day after (details TBA).
Report posted 8:30PM 3-30-2013:
On the 30th of March, protesters returned to Military Road and Oregon Ave. at least one protester showed himself to the police from the woods.
Passing drivers honked their opposition to the slaughter of deer in Rock Creek.
At about 7:30PM, US Park Police showed up, threatening to tow legally parked cars on Oregon Ave. They claimed they “reduced the width of the roadway” but if this was illegal, ALL curbside parking would be illegal except where explicitly allowed by signs. The cop way lying, as usual. He then proceeded to harass TV 7 News’s satellite van, forcing them to move as well.
This seems to have been an effort to force protesters to leave in hopes they would not return. It will backfire: protesters said they would get food and return refreshed and ready for more.
With someone having been seen in the woods, it would be quite unsafe for USDA’s outdoor slaughterers to work tonight without a careful inspection of the entire park for anyone who might still be in the woods, bellied down and waiting to disrupt the shooting.