Chesterton Tribune

Deer kill plan for Lakeshore includes sharpshooters and euthanasia

Back to Front Page





The National Park Service (NPS) has approved for implementation at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore a Deer Management Plan which includes the use of sharpshooters, NPS said in a statement released on Monday.

A Record of Decision (ROD) for the White-tailed Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was signed by Regional Director Michael Reynolds on June 22, and NPS will immediately implement the plan.

“The plan includes the reduction of the deer herd through sharpshooting by trained professionals,” NPS said. “In rare occasions when sharpshooting is not feasible, capture/euthanasia is authorized. The range of approved actions also incorporates a combination of fencing and use of repellents to protect rare plant populations or restoration areas.”

In general, the plan authorizes the National Lakeshore to take “appropriate action as needed” to ensure that the deer population does not cause unacceptable damage to the park’s ecosystem. “Damage to rare and endangered species and other negative impacts caused by excessive deer population compromise the purpose of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to preserve the exceptional biodiversity within the park,” NPS said.

The White-tailed Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement evaluated four possible management actions. Each alternative addresses the potential environmental consequences for vegetation, soils and water quality, white-tailed deer and deer habitat, other wildlife and wildlife habitat, sensitive and rare species, archeological resources, cultural landscapes, visitor use and experience, visitor and employee health and safety, soundscapes, socioeconomic conditions, and National Lakeshore management and operations. “The alternative approved (alternative D), was selected because it will best protect, preserve, and enhance the natural processes needed to maintain a viable deer population within the National Lakeshore,” NPS said.

“Monitoring data in the east unit of the park has shown that deer numbers need to be reduced, therefore sharpshooting to reduce deer numbers is expected to begin this fall and winter,” NPS said. “Monitoring data is still being gathered and analyzed for the west unit of the park. Monitoring impacts of deer to vegetation will be collected every year and the timing or intensity of management treatments will be adjusted using adaptive management.”

A copy of the ROD is available online at or you can request a hard copy of the ROD from Randy Knutson, Wildlife Biologist, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 1100 North Mineral Springs Road, Porter, IN 46304-1299



Posted 7/10/2012