The deer of Rock Creek Park have so far avoided a depopulation plan announced last May, thanks to a lawsuit and no thanks to the efforts of an unsanctioned hunter, but they can’t live forever. The National Park Service’s deer culling finally starts tonight, according to a press release from the agency.

But this is no light spring cleaning! The culling, which will go on nightly through Saturday, is part of a plan to take the deer population from 70 deer per square mile to 15 to 20 deer per square mile.

The Park Service will be closing eight roads around the park from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly through Saturday for the slaughters.

Photo by Flickr user Mr. T in D.C. used under a Creative Commons license.