The National Park Service (NPS) began implementing a deer management plan for Monocacy National Battlefield in late 2017. This plan, approved in 2014, can be accessed at the Planning, Environment & Public Comment website.
The purpose of this plan was to develop a deer management strategy that preserves the historic battlefield landscape by protecting and restoring native plants and other natural and cultural resources.
Although relatively rare at the turn of the 20th century, white-tailed deer populations in the Mid-Atlantic region have grown during recent years. Deer thrive on food and shelter available in the "edge" habitat created by suburban development. In addition, landscape fragmentation and increased development has reduced suitable hunting opportunities.
The size and density of the deer herd has increased substantially in Monocacy National Battlefield, where hunting is prohibited by law. Current deer densities are roughly 4-5 times higher than commonly accepted sustainable densities for this region, estimated at 15-20 deer per square mile. Plant monitoring in recent years has documented the effects of the large herd size on forest regeneration in the park. In addition, deer browsing has damaged crops and other plants that are key components of the historic landscape. It is critical to the mission of Monocacy National Battlefield to preserve and rehabilitate important cultural landscapes.
Extensive safety measures will be in place to protect park visitors and neighbors during deer reduction operations. We will continue to share additional information on this website regarding implementation of deer management strategies as the process moves forward. Suitable venison will be donated to local food banks.
FAQ Monocacy National Battlefield Deer Management Plan (Updated January 2019)
Deer Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement 2014
White Tailed Deer Management
Last updated: February 4, 2019