Culled District deer feed the hungry
CIA operatives returning to D.C. for their debriefings aren’t the only trained assassins in this city who stalk their targets in the dead of night. The National Park Service (NPS) hired expert sharpshooters to cull deer in Rock Creek Park. On five nights between this past January and March, the sharpshooters neutralized 106 white-tailed deer and donated 3,300 pounds of venison to local homeless shelters and other charities.
The deer culling was this year’s effort by the NPS to keep the Rock Creek Park deer population down. The deer in the park are overpopulated and risk decimating some of the park’s tastier flora. Rock Creek Park is a veritable feast for deer, which, according to The New York Times, the NPS estimates number around 320.
The NPS has calculated that the park needs around 20 deer per square mile to remain healthy. At the last deer count this past fall, however, the deer population was at a perilous 77 deer per square mile, according to The New York Times.
Last year, the NPS’s culling effort was protested by PETA and other animal rights advocates, who waved signs that said things like “birth control, not bullets.” That’s right. They were saying the NPS should gather up and sterilize the deer as opposed to culling them.
Being able to make fun of PETA isn’t the only good thing to come from the deer culling, though. All of the good venison from the sharpshooters’ kills is donated to shelters throughout the area. The shelters chop the venison up and serve it as meatloaf, burgers, and chili.
Some shelter visitors were uncomfortable with eating chopped-up Bambee, but, hey, a meal’s a meal, and venison tastes better than you’d think.
Photo: Scott Darbey via Flickr