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Maryland shooters take aim at more Catoctin Park deer

THURMONT — Sharpshooters are taking aim at more deer in Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont.

The National Park Service says it’s beginning the third annual round of shooting Monday to reduce the number of white-tailed deer in the park surrounding the Camp David presidential retreat.

Parts of the park will be closed periodically through March 1 to accommodate the shooting.

Sharpshooters killed a total of 425 deer in the first two years of the program. Despite their efforts, park officials said in April that the deer density was still six times higher than a healthy forest can sustain.

They say the deer eat so much greenery that the health of both the forest and the deer have suffered.

The park service donates the venison to food banks.