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Valley Forge Park sets deer shoots after year's delay

October 05, 2010 | Deer / Hunting & Wildlife Management


The permit has been approved for our group by the Park administration and the Superintendent has signed it.

Meet us in the parking lot near the bicycle rentals and restrooms. That is officially the First Amendment Zone and on Park maps it is identified as:

"Lower Welcome Center Parking Lot."

Look for the bright blue Friends of Animals banner.

IMPORTANT: Watch this space for further updates regarding forthcoming demonstrations and public education in the National Park as well as legal restraints filed for by Friends of Animals in this case.

Inquirer article follows.

By Jeff Gammage
Inquirer Staff Writer

Officials at Valley Forge National Historical Park say deer will be shot there starting next month, ending a yearlong delay and commencing a controversial plan to dramatically thin the herd.

An animal-rights group responded to Monday's announcement with an immediate pledge to demonstrate at the park. And an attorney said he might seek a restraining order to try to stop the shooting. Read more.


Jo, to clarify: No, Friends of Animals and CARE are not asking that officials move coyotes to the Park. Coyotes already live in the Park. We are quite simply asking that the Park maintain the status quo in the Park (where the deer population has decreased after peaking in 2003 as reported in the Inquirer in February 2009), and respect the coyotes of Pennsylvania. It's high time. Thanks for your comment about being consistent. Most of the members who enjoy our cookbooks (we are already going into second printings for both) likely are not eating any animals; they are finding out there's no need to do so --as the recipes do, if I might say so, match the best in any popular cookbook.

I understand how an organized kill can be viewed as inhumane. However in an area where the deer are overpopulated for the available habitat this is the only way to avoid animals starving and dying of disease. A sharpshooter is going to be able to take the animals in a manner that does not make them suffer, where starvation and disease are both ways for the animals to die that make them suffer greatly. I'm a conservationist and a hunter and I understand that maintaining a healthy herd for the available habitat requires balancing the animals and their habitat. Too many animals will degrade the habitat to the point that it will not sustain any. Introducing a high number of predators to the area such as coyotes is going to further stress the habitat, and a damaging tactic that does not have any guarantee of results. Please reconsider your stance and allow the herd to survive in moderation opposed to dying as a whole.

If you believe that allowing Coyotes to "cull" an over populated deer herd is more humane than allowing professionals to shoot them, you obviously know absolutely nothing about Pack Hunting and Killing Techniques. Most animals are brought from repeated rips and tears in their skin & from loss of blood. The pack then feeds on the live animal until it dies from it's injuries. These are not Tigers or Lions that kill with a quick surprise attack and kill by snapping the neck of their prey. Coyotes and all wild dogs run their prey to exhaustion, until they're cornered or too week to stay ahead of the lead animals. Mother Nature, in this case is vicious and cruel beyond your imagination. If you had EVER witnessed this for yourself, you would think more than twice before suggesting it. I do NOT hunt, nor am I in favor of hunting to control most over population issues. Although, it's much more humane that a Valley Forge winter without enough food, or have you forgotten the lessons learned by then General Washington? My suggestion, while it's more expensive but would I believe be more in line with what you CLAIM your objectives to be is to trap, dart, tranqualize as many healthy does as possible and relocate them. There are millions of acres of No Hunting Lands in this country to which they could be moved. Why not try that for an idea?

As locals that frequent the park weekly, we find the deer are part of the allure. Visitors from all over stop to observe and photograph the deer. These tame, white-tailed beauties are part of the park and have natural predators. We have personally observed coyotes in and around the park and can also confirm that the park's very statements confirm the population has not increased so. What is the real reason behind this madness? To protect their recent renovations? This is a national park, not hunting territory; the deer need not suffer for bogus reasons.

I see there is interest in bringing in coyotes to control the dear herd. What will you all be posting when you see a coyote killing the cute little fawns, or even the beautiful, big eyed adult deer, let alone the cute little bunnies, squirrels, nearby cats, dogs, etc. in the area? I would much rather have the deer more humanely killed with weapons. Also, if anyone complaining about the hunt also eats meat, I insist that you go to a slaughter house to see exactly what happens before that big juicy steak appears on your grill. Many farm animals raised for meat are also beautiful and do not hurt anyone. I can't imagine how anyone who is a member of FOA could think of eating meat, but I'll bet there are many.

I am first and foremost an activist for wildlife. One of the most important elements to consider in wildlife protection is the ecosystem. Because of a long history of human interference there are a lot of systems out of balance. One is definitely the removal of top predators such as the wolf, but there are many other elements too. People tend to interfere in the most mundane ways by changing the environment and creating new patterns of wildlife behavior. Because of this, additional human interference is sometimes the only possible answer to rectify the problem. Your idea that coyotes could reduce the population is not based on any knowledge of what coyotes are capable of. People tend to think Coyotes are just small Wolves but their habits especially in hunting are very different. For this reason, they would not have an appreciable impact on this large of a deer population. If the eco system is allowed to get this far out of balance there are many many long and short term consequences for all of the animal populations in the system. Please don't let your emotional response to one animal (yes deer are beautiful, timid animals) allow you to be a party to long term and possibly irreparable damage to this fragile ecosystem.

Blocking the initiative to use hunters to thin the herd in VF Park is more humane than allowing the deer to starve to death, right? Which is what is going to happen before the coyote packs can generate enough numbers. That deer herd is OUT OF CONTROL and needs to be taken care of NOW. Obviously none of you people live in the area surrounding the park, and have no idea just how bad it is. Not to mention - if you were local residents, I am sure the safety of your neighbors' pets and children would be a higher priority than the safety of these deer, and you wouldn't suggest increasing the number of coyotes. Coyotes will hunt deer, yes - but only if there are no tasty Yorkies, Chihuahuas, or Lab puppies around. MUCH easier prey. I am a dog owner and I won't even walk my dog in that park - something he enjoys very much - if the coyote population is increased. Park officials, and the courts -don't listen to this small number of loud people who obviously haven't thought about the risks of their "solution" and do what makes sense. There is nothing inhumane about it - especially if the deer meat winds up in food banks!

Please let the gentle deer be. : )

Stop using men with guns to assault nature.

I wonder what would happen if the National Park Service just gave the 2 MILLION DOLLARS which is going to be spent over the next 15 years for this deer cull to the homeless shelters instead of the deer meat. What is preventing the National Park Service from seeing that they are “cutting off their nose to spite their face”. By killing 80% of the deer, they are ruining the park experience. Tourists like to see the deer. They pull over their cars to take pictures of the deer. The park is NOT deforested as they say. The park has plenty of trees, bushes, grass, etc. Just take a drive along 252 by the creek sometime. How surprised are they going to be when there are more deer/vehicle accidents when the deer are fleeing from the sharpshooters. Take a step back for a moment, that’s right, let go of your ego for a moment, and see that this is a dangerous, expensive, unnecessary plan.


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