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Government sharpshooters kill 119 deer in 6th year of program at Md.'s Catoctin Mountain Park

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THURMONT, Maryland — The National Park Services says government sharpshooters killed 119 white-tailed deer in the sixth year of a herd-reduction program at Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont.

Park Superintendent Mel Poole reported the information in an email late Friday to The Associated Press. Sharpshooters from the U.S. Agriculture Department's Wildlife Services division began their work in mid-November and finished in late February.

The program has eliminated 1,087 deer from the park since 2010. It's intended to reduce tree and plant damage from a herd the park service says is bigger than the forest can sustain.

Conventional hunting is prohibited in the park, so federal sharpshooters do the work and donate the meat to food banks.

The program aims to kill more than 2,000 deer over 15 years.

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