Deer kill planned for Valley Forge Park

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. - October 6, 2009 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.

Actioni 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.

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