Federal marksmen culled more than 80 white-tailed deer from Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore during a 10-day program in March, the National Park
Service (NPS) said in a statement released today.
That cull was part of a deer management plan previously approved by NPS.
“Federal marksmen using non-lead ammunition and working under carefully
controlled conditions to ensure public safety culled 84 white-tailed deer in
the National Lakeshore during 10 days and nights in March,” NPS said.
“Eighty-two of the deer were tested for Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal
neurological disease, and all of the tissue samples from the deer came back
as “not detected” for the disease.
“All the deer were removed from the east unit of the park because monitoring
data in that portion of the National Lakeshore has shown that excessive deer
numbers have caused unacceptable damage to park resources,” NPS noted.
“Monitoring impacts of deer on vegetation will be collected each year and
the timing, location, and intensity of future management treatments will be
adjusted according to the monitoring results.”
“The implementation of the White-tailed Deer Management Plan is necessary to
ensure that the deer population does not cause unacceptable damage to the
National Lakeshore’s ecosystem,” NPS said. “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.”
Over 5,000 pounds of venison from the cull were donated to help feed the
hungry of Northwest Indiana. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry paid for the
processing and managed the donation of about half the deer. The remaining
deer were processed and donated to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.