Deer Management Helps Protect National Lakeshore Ecosystem and Feed the Hungry

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Date: May 6, 2013
Contact: Bruce Rowe, 219-395-1609

INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: The National Park Service announced the results of its initial implementation of the White-tailed Deer Management Plan for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. As part of the plan, federal marksmen using non-lead ammunition and working under carefully controlled conditions to ensure public safety culled 84 white-tailed deer in the national lakeshore during 10 days and nights in March. Eighty-two of the deer were tested for Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal neurological disease, and all of the tissue samples from the deer came back as "not detected" for the disease.
All the deer were removed from the east unit of the park because monitoring data in that portion of the national lakeshore has shown that excessive deer numbers have caused unacceptable damage to park resources. Monitoring impacts of deer on vegetation will be collected each year and the timing, location and intensity of future management treatments will be adjusted according to the monitoring results.
The implementation of the White-tailed Deer Management Plan is necessary to ensure that the deer population does not cause unacceptable damage to the national lakeshore's ecosystem. Damage to rare and endangered species and other negative impacts caused by excessive deer population compromise the purpose of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to preserve the exceptional biodiversity within the park.
Over 5,000 pounds of venison from the cull were donated to help feed the hungry of Northwest Indiana. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry paid for the processing and managed the donation of about half the deer. The remaining deer were processed and donated to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
For additional information, contact national lakeshore public information officer Bruce Rowe at 219-395-1609 or by e-mail at
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a part of the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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