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With half its acreage seriously damaged by a deer herd that has multiplied over the last 20 years, Valley Forge National Historical Park yesterday announced the first public hearings in a lengthy process that could lead to shooting the animals to save their habitat.
Officials said they planned extensive meetings with residents of neighboring towns and officials at all levels of government to discuss the problem and explore solutions.
They named five: the status quo (do nothing); widespread fencing of vegetation to exclude deer; birth control; bringing in professionals to kill deer with firearms; and using professionals to kill deer without firearms (archery or capture and euthanize). Public hunts are prohibited by the legislation that created the park but could, in theory, be approved by Congress, said Kristina Heister, a park natural resources manager who is overseeing the plan.
Public meetings are scheduled for Nov. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the park's education center and Nov. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Tredyffrin Township Building in Berwyn.