MANASSES,Va -- There is a new invasion at three local Civil War battlefields and sharpshooters may be the only way to fight back.
The marksmen may be used to curb the growing deer population at Manassas, Antietam and Monacacy battlefields in Maryland and Virginia.
"There's somewhere around 1,300 across the 5,000 acres," says Ed Clark, superintendent of the Manassas National Battlefield Park. "In reality, a healthy population size might be somewhere in the neighborhood of 160."
Clark says the park service is working on a plan to cull the population, possibly with the use of National Park Service sharpshooters.
Some non-lethal methods are also being considered, including deer birth control. That would involve shooting the deer with dart guns carrying a birth control drug.
"The only predator we have are motor vehicles," says Clark. "Forest regeneration can't occur when everything is always being eaten."
Trimming the herd is also necessary to keep the deer free of disease.
The National Park Service is also dealing with problem deer populations at the Antietam and Monocacy battlefields and is considering the same solution.
It's unlikely any deer kills will take place this year. The park service is seeking public input first since they are often controversial.
Public input sessions will be held in all three locations:
- Antietam National Battlefield Visitors Center, Tuesday, Aug. 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Monocacy National Battlefield Visitors Center, Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Manassas National Park Visitors Center, Thursday, Aug. 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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