Chesterton Tribune

Deer cull at National Lakeshore included in NPS preferred plan

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The National Park Service is seeking public comments on a draft plan to reduce the white-tailed deer population at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, with a deer kill coupled with non-lethal measures included in its preferred alternative.

The deer management plan and Environmental Impact Statement is available online at

The National Lakeshore will host an open house on the deer management plan at the Visitor Center on March 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. Informational displays about the plan will be available during the open house. A 15-minute presentation will be given at 5:30 p.m.

The deer management plan and EIS  evaluate the following four possible management actions:

Alternative A: Continue current deer management actions including limited fencing, limited use of repellents, and inventorying and monitoring efforts.

Alternative B: Include all actions under alternative A but also incorporate non-lethal actions to reduce deer numbers. These would include construction of additional small- and large-scale exclosures, more extensive use of repellents in areas where fenced exclosures are not feasible, and phasing in non-surgical reproductive control.

Alternative C: Include all actions described under alternative A but also incorporate a direct reduction of the deer herd size through sharpshooting and capture or euthanasia, where appropriate.                                      

Alternative D: Include all the actions described under alternative A but also incorporate a combination of specific lethal and non-lethal actions from the other two alternatives. These actions would include the reduction of the deer herd through sharpshooting, capture/euthanasia, and phasing in of nonsurgical reproductive control of does.

The NPS said its preference, Alternative D, would best protect the National Lakeshore while maintaining a viable deer population because there would be little, if any, uncertainty involved with implementing the selected methods to maintain low deer numbers. The NPS said this alternative would also best protect the biological and physical environment by immediately reducing deer herd numbers and sustaining the population with proven methods over the life of the plan.

To submit a comment about the plan, go to, and click on the appropriate document. Individuals may also mail or drop off written comments to: Superintendent, Attention: Randy Knutson, wildlife biologist; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 1100 North Mineral Springs Road, Porter, IN 46304-1299. A hard copy and CD of the plan can also be obtained at that address.

The public comment period closes on April 24. Written comments must be postmarked no later than that date.




Posted 2/5/2009