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Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, ext. 3121
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.
Hunting is not permitted inside the two parks--only qualified federal employees will take part in the effort to manage the deer populations affecting the parks. U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services will be doing the work under an inter-agency agreement with the National Park Service.
An important purpose of managing the deer population is supporting 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.
All deer taken through this program will continue to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), found in Adams County, Pa., in October 2012. Since that time, all deer taken within the two parks have tested negative for CWD.
All venison from deer that test negative for CWD will once again be donated to Gettysburg area food banks.
“We continue to manage white-tailed deer at Gettysburg and Eisenhower parks in order to control the damage they do to historic woodlots and farm fields,” said Zach Bolitho, the park’s chief of resource management.
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 deer management program will continue through the end of March, and continue each year as necessary. In addition to monitoring the deer population each spring, the park does long term forest monitoring to help assess the program and set deer management goals.