On the 27th of September, the National Park Service held “Rock Creek Park Day” in and around Rock Creek Nature Center. They got an unwelcome surprise when activists opposing the shooting of deer by the Park Service arrived. This was a delegation of two activists with banners (one on a parked car, one carried), with the goal of reminding the Park Service that they are being watched. If there is another “deer removal” program this winter, activsts will be watching, patrolling to find the killers, and protesting just like in 2014 and 2013.
Several times, Park Rangers acted like they were going to approach the activists holding the banner, only to recognize that one was an experienced activist with a camera and suddenly change course or back away. Two park police looked towards the banner-and actually jumped a bit before looking away. Two rangers did approach, but gave a speech saying they respected the First Amendment but please do not approach past the periphery of the event. This on public land supposedly open to the people. Nothing stronger than that, it is suspected the camera was a deterrent.
The shooting of deer in Rock Creek Park by Wildlife “Services” began in 2013 but was quickly halted that year after an incident where a laser was shined on protesters from the area of the shooters. This was presumed a weapon sight by protesters and adverse publicity halted that round of killing, though not before 20 deer were shot. In Spring 2014 the killing resumed, and a wounded deer was found a week later in the park and finished off by Park Police after a week of suffering. Still more deer were shot in December 2014, it appeared the Park Service and WS were reluctant to try to move truckloads of dead deer past positions held by protesters. Activists are presuming the NPS will try again this winter and already making plans accordingly.