deer management update-January 8

Phase One of Mt. Lebanon’s 2015-16 Deer Management Plan, an archery program, will conclude January 23, and Phase Two, sharpshooting, is scheduled to take place February 1 through March 31, pending an upcoming vote by Mt. Lebanon Commission.

Mt. Lebanon has seen a dramatic increase in the number of deer and the number of car crashes involving deer since the municipality suspended its deer management program in 2008 after three years. The goal of the current deer management plan is to reduce deer/vehicular collisions by one half within five years.

As of January 4, the total number of deer taken by hunters from ‘White Buffalo and the Hunters Cooperative was reported at 101, with a few more deer expected to be taken before January 23.  Manager Keith McGill has said the archery hunt was a success.  There have been no public safety incidents in the field; one non-resident was cited for trespassing on private property in an attempt to interfere with the hunt.

Further information about the archery hunt is posted at A final report will be issue at the conclusion of the program.

The 2015 Commission voted 4-1, with Commissioner Fraasch dissenting, to move forward with Phase Two of the hunt, a sharpshooting program. They agreed, however, that because a new commissioner (Commissioner Steve McLean was elected) would join the board January 1, the 2016 Commission should take a second vote clearly indicating its support before moving forward  based on additional program information from the contractor and municipal staff and considering the general effectiveness of the archery program.

Representatives from ‘White Buffalo will attend the January 12 Commission discussion session to provide an update on the archery hunt  and discuss the sharpshooting contract. That vote on the sharpshooting program is expected to take place at the 8 p.m meeting that evening.  (Check the agenda the Friday before the meeting by clicking here.)

White Buffalo, the wildlife management firm that coordinated the archery hunt, will also coordinate the sharpshooting, which is planned for some public park areas and  qualifying private properties donated by owners for the purpose. Private property owners have communicated directly with White Buffalo, not with Mt. Lebanon Municipality.

Although residents have expressed various concerns related to an overabundance of deer in this densely populated community, the Commission’s goal is to reduce, not eliminate, the herd and thus decrease deer vehicular collisions.The Commission will continue to evaluate the deer management program and consider various options. including the possibility  of becoming a test site for a sterilization project that might over time become a viable non-lethal solution.  A foundation has expressed interest in partially funding a sterilization program, with specific requirements involved.  Any sterilization  program would require approval by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which has  not previously approved such a effort.

Click for more information about the program.

Photo by Quinter Beery