Deer Culling To Resume Next Month In Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site

Deer culling operations will resume next month in Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site as officials continue to reduce the white-tailed deer population to prevent over-browsing of vegetation.

This will be the second fall that marksmen head out into the two units to kill deer. All venison will be donated to area food banks.

"Management of white-tailed deer at Gettysburg and Eisenhower parks has reduced the impacts of past deer damage to historic woodlots and farm fields. We must continue the management program to maintain this recovery," said Superintendent Bob Kirby.

An important purpose of the herd reduction is to support 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.

"Long-term forest monitoring at Gettysburg and Eisenhower parks indicates that more seedlings and saplings are living to become trees than in the 1990's," said Zach Bolitho, the park's chief of resource management. "We're making progress in healthier landscapes here."

The deer management program will continue through the end of March. Annual deer reductions will continue from October through March each year, as necessary. A deer reduction community safety committee is consulted on matters of public safety related to the program. The committee is composed of the local Pennsylvania Game Commission officer, the chiefs of police from Gettysburg Borough and Cumberland Township, the chairman of the Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory Commission, and the park superintendent, chief ranger, and biologist.

In 1995, an Environmental Impact Statement 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 park conducts monitoring of the deer population and long-term forest monitoring to help assess the program and set deer management goals.

Comments

I believe the USDA Wildlife Services has the contract to cull the deer. I can understand using a federal agency to cull deer on federal property, but the USDA Widlife Services has overstepped thier bounds in competing against local busineses for most other wildlife management work. Becuase they are federally funded, they lowball every bid and win it, in an already competitive market. This is outright stealing of jobs from the local service providers.

Haven't we had enough!

Gee - case in point. Hunting in a national park to improve the habitat.

Actually, not a case in point. The area is too urban with too many visitors. Can you imagine a hunting season at Gettysburg?

"Can you imagine a hunting season at Gettysburg?"

I don't have to imagine it. This article says it is happening.

No, this is culling, not hunting. There is a difference...


There is a difference...


Could you explain what that difference is?

Instead of selling hunting permits and sending hunters out across the park during the daylight hours without anyone guiding or watching where they go and how they hunt, trained marksmen are brought in after dark to selectively cull animals from the herd.

But the purpose is the same. Balance the animls wih the habitat. Gettysburg may not be an appropriate place to allow someone out in daylight without "guiding or watching' but someplace line Denali or RMNP or Glacier could very well be.

Hunting is a sport. Culling is a job.



Hunting is a sport. Culling is a job.


But they both have the same effect using the same tools.

Which isn't the same as "purpose."

Anon, what's say you let the adults talk for awhile?

Justin - Actually they do have a common purpose - its just the hunting has an additional purpose and raises money for the state rather than costing the state money.

So once again, MONEY is what's really most important? Did we just detect a tea partier?

"So once again, MONEY is what's really most important?"

Who said "most important"? It is an added benefit. A plus, an extra. It performs its environmental benefit AND provides entertainment AND provides a source of funds. How could that be bad?

Did we just detect an envious Occupy Wall Streeter?

Aside from the obvious conflict with visitors to Gettysburg and its urban setting, how appropriate would it be to have this sort of 'entertainment' on hallowed ground?

Beyond that, under the proposal the environmental benefit will be achieved and the venison will go to a good source -- area food banks -- so this certainly seems the best approach.

Kurt - perhaps you missed it when I said "Gettysburg may not be an appropriate place to allow someone out in daylight without "guiding or watching' but someplace line Denali or RMNP or Glacier could very well be."

While it might not be appropriate in Gettysburg, it could be quite appropriate in many other parks. Why don't you take Lee's suggestion and not be so absolutist - though I must admit that position coming from Lee is quite ironic.

And there are quite a few units of the park system -- mainly preserves, ie Katmai National Preserve, Big Cypress National Preserve -- where hunting is allowed. There's even a limited hunt at Grand Teton, and waterfowl hunting at national seashores, though these hunting seasons are by congressional decree, not NPS decision, I believe.

As far as being an absolutist, I think it's important to keep in mind why the park system was established -- hunting is not mentioned in the Organic Act-- and that there are vast amounts of public lands outside the parks (FS, BLM, FWS) where hunting is permitted and more appropriate. Hunting was considered, and dismissed, at Rocky Mountain due to the inherent problems with other visitation.

As I believe I noted on another post, far and away most parks just aren't set up for hunting....there are few access roads into the backcountry, four-wheelers aren't typically allowed. People come to the parks to enjoy the views, hike, watch the wildlife...not watch hunters or be kept out of areas due to hunting.


" -- hunting is not mentioned in the Organic Act--"


Neither is fishing, camping, hiking, building hotels, operating gift shops..........


"People come to the parks to enjoy the views, hike, watch the wildlife..


And they do the same in other federal lands with no conflict with hunting. Once again, there are places it is not appropriate but there are many places in NPs that would be appropriate for hunting, target shooting or trapping.

Ah, but there are conflicts. I've been riding my mountain bike in a national forest only to see a deer dart in front of me, a nick out of its back from an arrow, soon to be followed by a pickup full of hunters. Another time our search for a quiet hiking trail to enjoy with our dogs was met with numerous four-wheelers darting here and there. The result was we left the national forest.

When you consider these hunting seasons start in late August in some places and run into November if not longer, the conflicts are not insignificant.

That's not anti-hunting, simply an observation that there are natural conflicts between various recreational uses of public lands.

You suggested that I'm an absolutist when it coms to the parks. Turn that question around: Why do you want to open up national park lands to uses that are more appropriately handled and provided for elsewhere in the public lands arena?


Why do you want to open up national park lands to uses that are more appropriately handled and provided for elsewhere in the public lands arena?


Because I don't want to open ALL National Park areas only those where it is indeed appropriate. I believe there are many areas where it is - you take the absolutist position that it isn't appropriate anywhere. Oh, and by the way - I am not a hunter and despite having thousands of miles on the trail, I have never had an unpleasant encounter with a hunter.

Sorry, but you're inserting words in my keyboard. I have not taken an absolutist position, and even pointed out where hunting is permitted in the park system.


No, hunting or shooting ranges in places such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky, just to name a few parks, is not a good idea.


Those are your words from your keyboard. You don't consider them absolutist? There isn't a spot in all of Yellowstone that hunting or a shooting range couldn't be appropriate, Glacier, Yosemite?


Those are your words from your keyboard. You don't consider them absolutist? There isn't a spot in all of Yellowstone that hunting or a shooting range couldn't be appropriate, Glacier, Yosemite?


You can't be serious.

Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, no.

Those are three out of nearly 400 units of the park system, five if you add Grand Canyon and Great Smoky. I wouldn't describe that as absolutist.


Those are three out of nearly 400 units of the park system, five if you add Grand Canyon and Great Smoky. I wouldn't describe that as absolutist.


So your are for hunting, trapping and target shoot in the other 395 units?

Case by case basis, case by case. And I don't have the time nor the inclination to go through that list at this time.

But really, by definition, since I can see where hunting could, and does, occur in the park system, that upholds my position that I'm not an absolutist on the matter.

Case by case basis, case by case.

Geesh - Thats what I have been saying from the beginnig and what HR 4089 calls for.

Maybe, when it comes to preservation of some priceless places, some tough, strong, rigid absolutism is needed.

There are no more wild places being created. Wouldn't it be wise to hold very tightly to those that remain?

So if I'm going to be accused of absolutism -- then let's make it absolutely clear -- I absolutely am and that's absolutely not gonna change.

But that doesn't mean I won't sit down and listen to good arguments from the other side. (Note, though, that I said good arguments. That means sensible, carefully considered arguments.) But that doesn't mean I'll have to agree. Sometimes, the most important role some of us can play comes in trying to persuade others that they may not be right and then try to educate them in hopes they come to understand the error of their ways.

Now, let's all stand by for the big explosion.

I see Lee - absolutism is OK if its your position, but anyone that desagrees must compromise.

Some years ago, I was riding on NFS land adjacent to RMNP and some "hunter" almost shot my horse out from under me. He saw a brown butt and thought it was .... well, I'm not sure he thought anything! He missed, my horse (and I) spooked but all came out OK in the end.

I have friends and family who hunt. I enjoy the occasional gift of deer sausage or ground meat. I know that most hunters are much more careful than that. And yes, the BLM land was open for hunting although I'm not certain this was a joint-use area of riding and hunting both. Yes, I should have researched better and I learned from that!

Still, I don't understand why people advocate hunting in highly used national parks. A rifle bullet can go such a long way. Touristas wander off trail all the time. I don't think that having a balance between hunting-permitted lands and no-hunting lands, and making some of our highly trafficked parks no-hunting, is absolutist. Kurt's message said "parks such as..." That is not absolutist.

I was just stating what you've been saying all along.

But, if you will read my post carefully, it says there are some priceless places where compromise should be off limits. There will never be another Yellowstone, to name but one.