An Analysis of National Park Service Policy Regarding Management of White-Tailed Deer at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science


Environmental Policy & Mgmt


Steven Bissell


Mammoth Cave National Park; White-tailed deer; White-tailed deer management


The population of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) occupying Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky is unknown. The population is uncontrolled, unmanaged, and suspected to be high. When uncontrolled, white-tailed deer tend to overpopulate and inflict negative impacts to vegetation through increased herbivory. The goal of this project is to demonstrate that the status of white-tailed deer at Mammoth Cave merits a policy formulation, and to provide suggestions as to what such a policy should contain. Three similar national parks have previously developed policies to manage white-tailed deer. These policies are analyzed, and common elements are identified that can transpose into a comparable policy at Mammoth Cave. Recommendations for a white-tailed deer management policy at Mammoth Cave National Park are given.

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