Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Valley Forge National Park to euthanize white tailed deer

While I understand the deer are deemed destructive in Valley Forge Park, and in neigbhoring communities, the deer inhabited this area long before humans.

Yes, let it be known I am a tree-hugger and an animal lover. Senseless death of animals is disturbing to me.

Rather than just taking the easy method by killing Bambi, what I don't understand is if we spend trillions of our tax dollars bailing out the two-legged destructive creatures on Wall Street why not spend a far less amount to tranquilize and relocate the deer and let them live?

Citing 'excessive browsing which has led to the inability of forests to regenerate and the loss of habitat for other animal species. Mike Caldwell, Superintendent, said “We look forward to a future that provides high quality habitat for all wildlife species at Valley Forge.”

Initially, the park will use lethal reduction via sharpshooting and capture/euthanasia to quickly reduce the deer population and achieve the initial deer density goal. Maintenance of population levels will be conducted via reproductive control when an acceptable agent becomes available.

Exerpts from:


The entire report in PDF form can be downloaded here:



Anonymous said...

It's about time. The uncontrolled growth of the deer population has jepordized every other species trying to survive in the park area, Relocate them??? You do know that no one else wants them don't you? Perhaps birth control? Not affordable unless you're prepared to pay for it personally. I'm not. And yes they were here before us but they also had predators back then that helped control the population. Now the ONLY thing controlling it is that nasty predator the automobile. Ever hit a dear? I have. The effects on property, life and limb can be devastating.

Anonymous said...

After they kill the deer they should have a big cookout and serve venison.

Karen said...

I knew this topic would generate interest.

Our taxes are going to pay for euthanizing the deer, Anonymous 10:47 a.m., so why not pay for a form of birth control for them?

This plan smacks of the easy way out.

We happen to enjoy seeing the deer grazing, and for most, seeing them in Valley Forge Park is the only time we can view them in their natural habitat.

One member of my family did hit a young doe and a full grown doe on seperate occasions years apart. The damage from just the small one was to the front quarter panel, so I do know the impact of hitting a deer on the road.

I've never hit one, though I came close on Hallman's hill years ago. It was the biggest buck I've ever seen.

My husband and I also avoided several deer crossing Rt. 113 about a year ago.

Living in an area where deer are prevelant means being constantly aware of that fact while driving. For example, I've developed the habit of glancing at the on-coming headlights of cars and if deer are crossing the road and if I can't see the body , I can see the legs and avoid the animal. Probably wouldn't work in all instances, but it is a start.

Anonymous said...

The reason birth control is not used is that there is not yet an effective type that won't affect humans if the deer meat is consumed. The deer don't necessarily stay within the park boundaries and can travel to areas where they may be legally hunted. This was explained to me years ago by a NPS employee.

Anonymous said...

The venison could go toward feeding the homeless and needy. Let's think of those less fortunate.

Karen said...

Channel 6 ABC news' big story is the decision to kill the deer in Valley Forge Park.

According to the report, the park is home to approximately 1200 deer and the plan is to cull the herd to about 200 deer.

This is a slaughter.

The SPCA is also outraged over the plan.

I'll post the link to the story once it becomes available.

Karen said...

From 6 ABC

By Walter Perez VALLEY FORGE, Pa. - October 6, 2009 (WPVI) -- A hunt is planned for Valley Forge National Park to trim the herd of deer there.

The plan is to kill more than 1,000 deer in the 3500 acre park, which is bordered by routes 422, 23 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The deer are everywhere in Valley Forge National Historical Park, and their numbers have wreaked havoc on the forest's ability to regenerate. That's because the deer menu consists primarily of saplings and shrubs.

"We hope to have reforestation take place, and provide a habitat for more animals. We don't look to elminate deer totally for Valley Forge, just to have a sustained population," said Mike Caldwell with the National Park Service.

Officials hope to cut down the deer population from the current 1200 to less than 200 by means of a controlled kill.

The deer will be lured to remote areas where hired sharp-shooters will kill them with silencer-equipped, high-powered rifles.

Animal rights advocates understand the problem. They simply want the Park Service to employ a humane approach to the solution.

"Birth control, things like that. Restricting the speeds of the cars going through the area, whatever needs to be done instead of setting out bait stations and slaughter the deer," said Edward Davies of the Montgomery County SPCA.

Action News found that people in the park Tuesday were split on the issue.

"The deer have been here for these hundreds of years. We need to leave them alone," said Charles Newton.

"Nature takes care of overpopulation in two ways: Starvation and disease. Man has to pull this back in balance, therefore I view this as a necessary evil," said Don Naimoli.

The deer kill will take place over a few years. The meat will be donated to local homeless shelters.

Solofloyd said...

If the population of the deer herd is not reduced then there will eventually be no trees at VF. They eat all the seedlings and other vegetation. If you don't want to see then slaughtered now then you will end up seeing them die of starvation later. It isn't pretty but this is the best option. The population density at which a forest can regenerate is about 20-25 sq. mi. At VF the density is 240 per sq. mi. This is not healthy for the deer or the forest.

Anonymous said...

If the SPCA is upset about this, why don't they go to the park and catch 1,000 deer and take them back to their buildings. They can take care of them until they can find a loving family for them.

Anonymous said...

Oh deer. Not another issue to worry about.

Anonymous said...

Pennsylvania's forests were almost completely cut down around the turn of the last century. When the trees and vegetation that replaced that old growth forest were small and abundant the deer population increased dramatically. Now those trees have matured and there simply is not enough food to sustain huge populations of deer in the forests. That is why they come into residential areas to feed on your shrubbery. Their numbers are actually not as large as decades ago, but their feeding grounds have changed because of the nature of the forest. There are simply too many mature trees and not enough saplings and other small plants for them to be sustained. Unfortunately, the population in the park has exceeded the ability of the park to sustain the deer and to renew itself by allowing some of the trees to mature.

karlub said...

Others have observed the key item: The controlled kill is humane.

The herd is already unhealthy, and I can't think of a worse way for deer to die than starving and freezing to death over the winter.

Regarding the use of the meat to feed those in need, when I went to school down south, hunters used to donate surplus venison to homeless shelters. The Commonwealth of Virginia shut that down because the meat wasn't inspected.

Eventually they worked it out via the "Hunters for the Homeless" program, so if any of you want to take that idea seriously, give them a call.

Anonymous said...

According to the 6ABC article, the meat will be donated to local shelters. So it appears to be already taken care of, karlub.

On another note, I fail to see how shooting them up with chemicals is any more humane than shooting them outright. Relying on a contraceptive to work introduces too many unintended consequences. A bullet has no unintended consequences.

I give the park service the benefit of the doubt here. It seems they considered all options and arrived at the one that makes most sense. Let them do what they are there to do: maintain the integrity of the park. This already unhealthy deer population is unsustainable.

Anonymous said...

The deer have migrated to the park because they have been forced out of every available green space in the surrounding counties. The malls,the bypass, industrial parks and the subdivisions for McMansions has eliminated their safe havens. Humans have created the problem, not the wildlife that ultimately suffers when a bullet is chosen to satisfy the bloodthirsty.

Anonymous said...

Went thru the park at 9 pm last night and at 8 am this morning.One hit by the Black Soldiers memorial and one to the left of the Chapel.Maybe a kill is necessary.