what you need to know about deer culling

Mt. Lebanon Commission has authorized an archery hunt as part of an ongoing deer management effort to reduce deer-automobile crashes. The program began September 19 and will continue through January.

How does the archery program work?

Experienced archers will conduct a deer hunt on private and specified public properties in Mt. Lebanon during archery season beginning September 19 through the last weekend in January with a break for two weeks in December. The program involves legal archery hunting following all state game commission rules and requires no special permit. All hunters are required to harvest three antlerless deer before removing a deer with antlers.

The nonprofit wildlife management and resource group White Buffalo Inc., of Connecticut, will supervise the program. Project manager is Jody Maddock.

Municipal officials will receive a summary, including a count of deer taken, at the conclusion of the program.

What are the hours of the program?

Hunting can take place from 30 minutes prior to sunrise to 30 minutes following sunset. Hunters may work in designated public parks Monday through Friday and on approved private property Monday through Saturday. There will be no hunting Sundays.

Are there programs like this in other locations?

Many other areas in the state have used legal archery programs, including Allegheny County, Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, Peters Township, South Park and Fox Chapel.

Who helped Mt. Lebanon devise the program, and how experienced are they?

White Buffalo Inc., and its president and founder, Dr. Anthony DeNicola, have been consulting with Mt. Lebanon regarding deer overpopulation for the last few years. White Buffalo. has nearly 20 years experience and uses biologists, veterinarians, project managers and field technicians to help manage over-abundant species. It has removed more than 10,000 deer and provided 200,000 pounds of venison to food banks.

Other experts have helped the municipal commission define its goals over the years, including biologists and wildlife conservation officers from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

What safety measures are being implemented?

By far, the greatest way to ensure safety is with responsible hunting by responsible hunters. The archer selection program has been extremely rigorous. White Buffalo has chosen seven hunters (with four more awaiting approval), selected after an application and an interview. All hunters are certified in bow hunter education, including safety and ethics, and passed a proficiency test with a bow or crossbow. They must have attended an orientation meeting and passed a criminal history check at the hunter’s expense. Each hunter signed a pledge to hold the public interest above their own. Some of them are police officers.

The local team leader White Buffalo has selected has been a bow hunter education and safety instructor for 20 years and has taught many local hunters.

To boost public confidence, hunting in public areas is restricted to police officers only. All hunters will carry and wear ID identifying them as being part of Mt. Lebanon’s program.

Shots must be taken 15 yards or closer to the deer. Shots will either come from above the deer, such as from a tree stand, or be shot into a backstop, such as a hill behind the deer.

How were the private properties selected?

Interested private property owners contacted White Buffalo offering to donate their properties for participation in the project. Officials from White Buffalo contacted each applicant and the applicant’s neighbors for any additional permissions needed. Each property was rated based on White Buffalo’s discretion, with more weight given to areas of heavy vegetation or woods.

What public areas are being used for the hunt?

The conservation area at Connor Road and Terrace Drive, wooded portions of the public golf course, Twin Hills Park, McNeilly Park, the public works facility and Robb Hollow Park.

Will the parks be closed?

No. All public areas and parks will remain open.

will safe walking routes to school be affected?

None of the areas are within a recommended safe walking route.

How will the public know about the program?

Public hunting areas will be posted for the duration of the hunt. LeboALERTs will be sent as needed. We will include updates in Mt. Lebanon Magazine and at www.lebomag.com and www.mtlebanon.org in the newsflash section on the front page and on the deer management page. We have notified school officials.

What happens to the harvested deer?

Hunters must donate every third deer to the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program. It is likely that more than one of every three will be donated there; however, many of the hunters already have established relationships with other sources.

How much will the ARCHERY program cost in the 2015-16 hunting season?


Is Mt. Lebanon exploring other deer control options?

This month, Mt. Lebanon Commissioners will discuss issuing a Request for Proposal for culling deer using sharpshooters. Commissioners also have authorized municipal officials to submit a proposal to the Humane Society of the U.S., and a private foundation for funding to support a deer fertility control and sterilization project.

Whom should I contact if I have a concern or want to report something?

If you have a general concern about the program, call Municipal Planner Keith McGill at 412-343-3684 or email him at kmcgill@mtlebanon.org. If you have an issue of immediate safety concern, call 9-1-1

UPDATE:  Commissioners began discussing a deer cull using sharpshooters  earlier than expected ( in late September) and issued an RFP.  One response to the proposal has been received, and the Commission will again talk about  the issue in its discussion session at  6:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 13, in the Municipal Building, Room 103, A vote may be taken that evening at the regular Commission meeting at 8 p.m. in the Commission Chamber, also in the Municipal Building, 710 Washington Road.