HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The National Park Service is giving its approval to a plan that would have government sharpshooters kill more than 2,800 white-tailed deer at three Civil War battlefields in Maryland and Virginia over the next five years.

The agency announced its decision Tuesday on the plan to curb damage to plants and trees at the Antietam and Monocacy battlefields in Maryland and the Manassas battlefield in Virginia.

The agency says the shooting program is dependent on funding. Meanwhile, the park service may add fencing and make other changes to keep deer away from crops and woodlots susceptible to over-browsing.

The plan includes the possible use of chemical contraceptives after the fifth year of shooting, assuming an appropriate reproductive control agent becomes available.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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