Cuyahoga Valley National Park started its white-tailed deer management program in 2015.
The National Park Service (NPS) has been studying and monitoring the deer population in the park since the late 1980s. The final White-tailed Deer Management Plan provides the park with a long-term approach to address high deer populations that are adversely affecting the park's vegetation and other wildlife. The final plan was approved in February 2015 by the Midwest Regional Director. NPS secures permits by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to use sharpshooting on park property to reduce deer populations. NPS contracts with the Wildlife Services branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA-WS) to provide experienced and trained staff to implement the deer program.
Most culling activities occur away from established trails, in open fields and meadows using truck mounted platforms or tree stands to ensure the humane and safe removal of deer. NPS has partnered with Cleveland Metroparks and Summit Metro Parks for meat processing and donation to area food banks.
Activities take place between dusk and midnight, on weekdays (Monday through Thursday). At times, specific areas are temporarily closed to ensure public safety. NPS staff patrol the park during removal actions to ensure compliance with park closures and public safety measures, and accompany USDA-WS teams in the field.
The safety of the public is our first priority as we implement this resource management program. Local law enforcement agencies are notified of this activity and work with the park on any closures.
The Cuyahoga Valley Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and supporting documents are available on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) site. Documents available on the PEPC site are listed below.
If you have questions about this program, please call 440-546-5975 or e-mail us.
Last updated: January 25, 2024