February 17, 2015 News

deerMt. Lebanon’s spring deer management program, which was to have run through March 31, has ended, and the corrals have been removed from five local park areas.

Using the capture and euthanize method, Mt. Lebanon had hoped to cull 150 of the community’s estimate of 400-500 deer, in an effort to approach the goal of reducing deer/vehicular crashes by 50 percent within five years. Only six deer were killed utilizing the corrals.

Mt. Lebanon implemented the capture and euthanize program as part of a multi-year approach to deer management, and after it became impossible to proceed with a planned bow hunt program. The method was approved and deemed safe by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Even though the number of deer culled did not approach Mt. Lebanon’s goal, the Game Commission’s deer biologists, which monitored the process, were satisfied with the functionality of the system and feel this method will be a viable option in the future of urban deer management in Pennsylvania.

Wildlife Specialists, which was contracted to cull up to 150 deer at $500 apiece, began the program March 10 and chose to end it early because of several factors, according to a letter from the firm’s president, Merlin Benner, which thanked police for their cooperation and urged that a deer management plan continue.

The factors Benner cited that made it impossible to achieve the program’s goals included the fact that the cull began much later than the expected early February start date. In addition, the weather warmed almost as soon as the program began, leading to an immediate drop in the number of deer entering the corrals for food. Finally, direct sabotage of the corrals and disruption of the animals in the areas surrounding the corrals led to fewer deer entering the corrals.

Photos taken by the Game Commission of trapped deer showed no signs of panic or self-inflicted injury. All deer killed were delivered to a processor for processing, storage, and ultimately, delivery to a charitable food pantry as required by the permit.

Mt. Lebanon’s Commission will continue to consult with experts and engage residents to evaluate all available deer management options in the near future, including non-lethal and lethal methods.

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