• Gettysburg National Military Park


    National Military Park Pennsylvania

Park Deer Management Program for 2012-13

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Date: September 20, 2012
Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, etx. 3121

whitetail deer
(National Park Service)

In October, the National Park Service (NPS) will continue its program of deer management at Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. Gettysburg and Eisenhower national parks are reducing the number of deer in the parks directly by shooting. All venison will be donated to area food banks. Hunting is not permitted inside the two parks--only qualified federal employees will take part in the effort to reduce the herd.

"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.

Did You Know?

The Leister House in 1863. (Library of Congress)

The tiny home of widow Lydia Leister was used by Union General George G. Meade for his headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.