Archive

Mt. Lebanon archery culling has so far killed at least 101 deer | TribLIVE.com
News

Mt. Lebanon archery culling has so far killed at least 101 deer

Natasha Lindstrom

Recruited and volunteer archers have killed at least 101 deer on public and private lands through Mt. Lebanon's latest controversial attempt at reducing its deer population.

The 6.2-square-mile, densely developed municipality released an update Tuesday on its controlled archery deer hunt that began on Sept. 19.

Pennsylvania's archery deer season runs through Jan. 23.

Mt. Lebanon hired Connecticut-based White Buffalo Inc. to oversee the effort, which involved a combination of hunters vetted and trained by the contractor and independent hunters encouraged to include their kills in the total count.

“I was going to be happy with 50 (deer kills), so I'm actually very pleased,” White Buffalo President Anthony DeNicola said Tuesday.

The three-month kill program cost $15,460 — or about $150 per deer based on the 101 kills reported as of Monday.

The archery hunting is a piece of Mt. Lebanon's broader strategy to cull deer — an issue that has stirred heated controversy among some residents.

“We had folks out there for three months, they killed over 100 deer … and we literally had zero incidents,” DeNicola said. “We didn't have crippled deer running around, no safety issues. All the hype that was brought up was just that.”

White Buffalo's nine screened archers harvested a total of 81 deer, about 83 percent of which were female.

They targeted does to help slow the pace of deer births.

Public spaces targeted included the conservation area at Connor Road and Terrace Drive, McNeilly Park, Robb Hollow Park and wooded portions of Mt. Lebanon's public golf course.

Roughly half of White Buffalo's harvest — 41 deer — were killed on private property with the owner's permission. White Buffalo secured rights to hunt on about 20 properties, selected strategically from about 180 property owners who had expressed interest.

Mt. Lebanon has not released the names of hunters or locations of private properties where deer were hunted, despite an open-records push to do so.

“I'm not opposed to hunting; however, I am opposed to hunting in Mt. Lebanon — and they're not telling us where these places are,” said Elaine Gillen, community blogger and anti-culling activist. She is fighting Mt. Lebanon in an open-records dispute to make public the addresses of culling sites.

Officials in support of deer culling have cited the goals of reducing deer-related car crashes; preventing the spread of Lyme disease; and protecting native vegetation and garden plants from overpopulated and hungry deer.

Next week, DeNicola is set to present information on his wildlife management firm's next deer-culling phase, a controlled sharpshooting hunt.

The commission still has to vote on final approval of the sharpshooter program, which would cost about $81,000 and run Feb. 1 through March 31.

An earlier attempt with a different contractor in March failed to corral and shoot more than six deer — well below the upper limit of 150 in the contract.

Some opponents dispute that Mt. Lebanon has a deer overpopulation problem. Others urge alternatives to culling, such as fertility control.

For its archery hunt, Mt. Lebanon required hunters to donate at least every third deer to Hunters Sharing the Harvest, a statewide program that works with butchers, hunters and food banks to get donated venison to the hungry. White Buffalo's hunters donated 63 deer or 78 percent of their take, totaling an estimated 2,520 pounds.

Among charitable food distributors that benefited: Bethany Presbyterian Church, Jubilee Soup Kitchen, Greater Washington Food Bank, Link in the Chain Ministries, Monongahela Food Bank and West Hills Food Pantry.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514 or [email protected].


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.