Sharpshooting Approved to Control Deer Population in Rock Creek Park
The National Park Service will employ lethal and non-lethal means to control the deer population.
Sharpshooters will be used to thin the deer population in the Washington, D.C. portions of Rock Creek Park. The National Park Service recently approved a program of lethal and non-lethal means to reduce the deer population to prevent overgrazing that harms native plants.
“This decision will allow us to start restoring native vegetation, protecting the diverse communities of plants and animals that live here, and preserving the natural and cultural resources in Rock Creek Park for this and future generations," said park Superintendent Tara Morrison in a prepared statement.
In 2009, the NPS estimated that there were 67 deer per square mile. The goal density adopted in May is 15 to 20 deer per square mile because that is the "appropriate density of deer that will allow for natural forest regeneration," according to the Rock Creek Park Final White-tailed Deer Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).
NPS will use both sharpshooting and capture/euthanasia as lethal means initially to quickly begin population reduction, according to the FEIS.
Montgomery County already uses sharpshooting and hunting for deer population control.
"In order to maintain the full diversity you need to manage the population otherwise you'll end up with a forest of deer and not much else," said Rob Gibbs, Montgomery County's natural resource manager in a previous interview with CNS.