The second annual deer-culling operation at Valley Forge National Historical Park could start any day now.
The park does not release dates, but the program runs from November through March, using skilled U.S. Department of Agriculture sharpshooters with night-vision goggles who kill the deer at baited sites. They took about 600 deer last season, and the goal this time is 500, much to the dismay of animal rights activists, who lost a legal challenge last year in federal court. Officials say park plant life cannot support the deer overpopulation, and the meat is donated to charity. Other controlled deer hunts take place over the winter at Tyler State Park in Bucks County and the Norristown Farm Park in Montgomery County. Those hunts use regular licensed hunters chosen by lottery, not professional sharpshooters.