Park Service to thin Rock Creek Park deer herd

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Park Service will turn to sharpshooters, birth control and other methods to thin the growing deer herd in Rock Creek Park and protect the park's vegetation.

The Washington Post reports ( that the park service announced Wednesday that the plan was approved May 1.

Officials said the deer herd has grown since the 1960s, when just four white-tailed deer were spotted in the park.

They said the four-square-mile park now has 80 deer per square mile. Park officials will continue monitoring the deer population and using fences to protect plants.

However, they will also use sharpshooters and a capture-and-euthanize program.

Sharpshooting will be done mainly at night during late fall and winter.

Officials also plan to use sterilization and other birth control methods on the deer.