Park Deer Management Program Will Run October 2019 through March 2020
From October 2019 through March 2020, the National Park Service (NPS) will continue managing white-tailed deer 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 once again be donated to Gettysburg area food banks.
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.
The deer management program is based on ten years of studies that determined that the parks had more deer than the natural and historic landscapes could support. 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.
“We continue to manage the deer population at Gettysburg’s two national parks in order to sustain a healthy habitat and to bring the deer density numbers to a level where we can preserve and protect historic woodlots and farm fields,” said Tom Forsyth, acting superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site.
In 1995 an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 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.