Deer population concerns at Manassas National Battlefield Park - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Deer population concerns at Manassas National Battlefield Park

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The hundreds of deer grazing and roaming the woods at Manassas National Battlefield Park are hard to miss.

There are about 165 deer per square mile in the eight-square mile park, an estimated total of 1,300, while experts say there should only be about 160.

A so-called "browse line" is visible along the edge of the woods. Everything below it is bare of vegetation because the deer have eaten all within their reach. National Park Service officials say the animals are depleting their food source and damaging the land.

Officials have considered a number of options to control the population over the next 15 to 20 years. The preferred plan is to bring in sharpshooters, as used in D.C.'s Rock Creek Park. Then follow up with some sort of birth control, if and when a method is approved.

The decision on how to control the deer population will apply to Antietam and Monocacy National Battlefields as well.

The public is invited to weigh in during open meetings scheduled at each park throughout this week:

8/27/2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

5831 Dunker Church Road

Sharpsburg, Maryland

8/28/2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Monocacy National Batlefield Visitor Center

5201 Urbana Pike

Frederick, Maryland

8/29/2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Manassas National Batlefield Park Visitor Center

6511 Sudley Road

Manassas, Virginia

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