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Deer Culling To Resume Next Month In Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site


Deer culling operations will resume next month in Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site as officials continue to reduce the white-tailed deer population to prevent over-browsing of vegetation.

This will be the second fall that marksmen head out into the two units to kill deer. All venison will be donated to area food banks.

"Management of white-tailed deer at Gettysburg and Eisenhower parks has reduced the impacts of past deer damage to historic woodlots and farm fields. We must continue the management program to maintain this recovery," said Superintendent Bob Kirby.

An important purpose of the herd reduction is to support forest regeneration in historic woodlots that played a role in the fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg. The management program also provides for the long-term protection, conservation and restoration of native species and cultural landscapes.

"Long-term forest monitoring at Gettysburg and Eisenhower parks indicates that more seedlings and saplings are living to become trees than in the 1990's," said Zach Bolitho, the park's chief of resource management. "We're making progress in healthier landscapes here."

The deer management program will continue through the end of March. Annual deer reductions will continue from October through March each year, as necessary. A deer reduction community safety committee is consulted on matters of public safety related to the program. The committee is composed of the local Pennsylvania Game Commission officer, the chiefs of police from Gettysburg Borough and Cumberland Township, the chairman of the Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory Commission, and the park superintendent, chief ranger, and biologist.

In 1995, an Environmental Impact Statement described and considered a variety of options for meeting park objectives for deer management, including public hunting, relocation, and the use of sterilization and contraception. Hundreds of people participated in the public review of the EIS and many commented on it in writing. The NPS decided to reduce the number of deer in the parks through shooting.

The park conducts monitoring of the deer population and long-term forest monitoring to help assess the program and set deer management goals.


I believe the USDA Wildlife Services has the contract to cull the deer. I can understand using a federal agency to cull deer on federal property, but the USDA Widlife Services has overstepped thier bounds in competing against local busineses for most other wildlife management work. Becuase they are federally funded, they lowball every bid and win it, in an already competitive market. This is outright stealing of jobs from the local service providers.

Haven't we had enough!

Gee - case in point. Hunting in a national park to improve the habitat.

Actually, not a case in point. The area is too urban with too many visitors. Can you imagine a hunting season at Gettysburg?

"Can you imagine a hunting season at Gettysburg?"

I don't have to imagine it. This article says it is happening.

No, this is culling, not hunting. There is a difference...

There is a difference...

Could you explain what that difference is?

Instead of selling hunting permits and sending hunters out across the park during the daylight hours without anyone guiding or watching where they go and how they hunt, trained marksmen are brought in after dark to selectively cull animals from the herd.

But the purpose is the same. Balance the animls wih the habitat. Gettysburg may not be an appropriate place to allow someone out in daylight without "guiding or watching' but someplace line Denali or RMNP or Glacier could very well be.

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