Sharpshooters Begin Culling D.C. Deer

Attempting to control the population

Mar 28, 2013
Outside
Outside Magazine

Sharpshooters for the National Park Service began hunting white tailed deer Wednesday night in Washington D.C.’s Rock Creek Park in an effort bring the population under control.

The deer have been credited with widespread environmental damage, costing thousands of dollars to the park service and local residents. The New York Times explained the extent of the problem in a story last month:

Because of the animals’ grazing, the forest is unable to regenerate. As wind and age topple the massive oaks, hickories and poplars that make up the canopy, or overstory, no young trees survive to replace them. At the same time, the deer leave alone many of the invasive species in the park.

CBS Local reports that the 2,800-acre park is home to over 400 deer, or more than 70 deer per square mile. The park service hopes to reduce that number to between 60 to 80. The meat will be donated to local food pantries.

Due to the problem's immediacy, authorites ruled out various forms of birth control. Animal rights groups' attempts to halt the hunt were struck down by a judge last week.

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