A deer cull
commenced on Monday night at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, in accordance
with a deer management plan approved in July 2012 by the National Park
provides, among other things, for the use of sharpshooters.
Bruce Rowe told the Chesterton Tribune after deadline on Tuesday that
the cull is expected to last around three weeks and is being conducted by
National Park Service rangers and specialists with the Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
approved plan authorizes the taking of up to 345 deer in the first year of
implementation, Rowe said that probably no more than 150 will be taken over
the next three weeks.
“For reasons of
public safety” Rowe would not say where in the National Lakeshore the cull
is being conducted, except that sites are “away from public areas.”
locations which show evidence of deer activity have been selected,” he said.
“Timing and precautions are being taken to ensure public safety.”
involved in the cull: between four and seven. That number includes persons
who are processing the culled deer, taking samples to test for chronic
wasting disease, and conducting general deer population research, Rowe said.
specialists, Rowe noted, “are highly trained experts in wildlife control”
and are working to train NPS rangers in processing.
There is no
particular ratio of deer to be taken, Rowe said. “There is a preference for
females, because that lowers the population more quickly,” but the
sharpshooters “will take any deer in the cull areas.”
days—during which culled deer will be checked for chronic wasting
disease—the meat will be processed and then “donated to a local food bank
for distribution to food pantries,” Rowe added.
“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 last summer,
in announcing the approval of the deer management plan.