Blankets Creek will be closed to the public for three days in December and January for a wildlife management event after reports of potentially dangerous deer behavior in recent weeks, Cherokee Recreation and Parks announced Tuesday.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks acts as the official land manager for the Blankets Creek property, and leases the property from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The land in the Blankets Creek area has seen a large increase in the deer population, leading to malnourished animals and a safety issue for trail users. 

SORBA members informed the parks department of "erratic and aggressive" behavior from the deer, Cherokee County spokesperson Erika Neldner said.

Upon learning of the deer behavior, parks officials contacted the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, which suggested a wildlife management event to thin the population on the property. 

In an effort to control the deer population in that area, which is estimated to be hundreds on the 330-acre property, Cherokee Recreation and Parks will hold a deer management event Dec. 19, Jan. 2 and Jan. 9. 

The event is for Cherokee County residents only and restricted to archery. Dec. 19 will be reserved for youth and disabled hunters only (both will be allowed one chaperone and a maximum of one piece of archery equipment).

Those interested may register for the limited spots per day by visiting playcherokee.org. Online registration begins Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.  Hunters will be selected through a lottery process with a maximum of 30 hunters per date. Once selected for a date, registration costs $25, and all funds raised will be designated for Blankets Creek.

State hunting laws must be followed, hunters must have a valid hunting license, hunters must wear orange, and only archery equipment can be used. Hunters will be limited to two deer, and state season limits apply. Both the USACE and Georgia DNR Rangers will be on site to assist with the event.

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