While the proposed deer culling in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park has been hung up by a lawsuit, Montgomery County started its own culling program in Rock Creek Stream Valley Park last month. But according to one animal rights group, not all the deer that get shot in Montgomery County die.

According to animal rights group In Defense of Animals, a Montgomery man walking in the woods on Feb. 23 saw a deer with part of its jaw blown open, as if shot during a controlled deer cull. (Gory photo after the jump.) When he contacted Montgomery park police to put the deer down, though, he was treated indifferently. “They basically told him that they can’t do anything,” says Anja Heister, a director at the animal rights group. “But they might be able to tell the sharpshooters about this deer, and they might be able to track the deer down the following evening.”

In Defense of Animals says the deer’s wound likely came from Montgomery sharpshooters. As far as Heister knows, the deer was never put out of its misery. “If she’s still alive, she’s going to die of infection, which you know is a very gruesome death,” she says.

I’m waiting to hear back from Montgomery officials in charge of the cull. But if the deer was a survivor from a cull, Heister says it’s an example of how deer culls are not as clean or simple as government agencies would suggest. She would prefer to see the deer population reduced, not with guns and bows, but with contraception.

Update, 5:20 p.m.: Rob Gibbs, a Montgomery County official who oversees the deer management program, says In Defense of Animals is drawing unfair conclusions about the culling. “I think they’re taking one animal that somebody saw, that nobody knows exactly what the injury came from, and kind of blowing it up,” Gibbs says.

The deer sharpshooting that started this year has resulted in 495 deer deaths, according to Gibbs. In the program’s history, only around 1 percent of bullets fired have resulted either in a miss or the failure to kill the deer immediately, he says.

Top photo by Mr. T In DC via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License, photo at left In Defense of Animals