Outdoors Notebook: Deer management meeting at North Park

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It's fun to watch songbirds in the bushes and rabbits on the lawn at North Park. Those animals are there because the right vegetation provides the types of food and shelter they require. When that habitat goes away, so do the animals, and nothing destroys vegetative habitat as efficiently as another animal that's fun to watch: white-tailed deer.

In a natural environment, the deer population is controlled by predators. But in a man-made suburban landscape like North Park, where automobiles are deer's greatest threat, extra measures need to be taken to protect the habitats used by all of the park's occupants, including the two-legged kind.

Allegheny County attempts to reduce negative deer impacts in North Park, and its other parks, through a partnership with Whitetail Management Associates. WMA is a nonprofit archers' group that, at no charge to its partners, discretely conducts limited organized hunts structured to manage local deer populations.

"I'm not getting complaints about Whitetail Management or about hunting in the park. I think there's public support for it," said Gary Rigdon, chairman of Friends of North Park. "But we really want the public to understand what we're doing here."

That's why Rigdon scheduled a public meeting 7-9 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Cabin in North Park. Topics of discussion will include deer management and a proposal to drill for natural gas in Allegheny County parks. For information about the meeting call North Park at 724-935-1766. Get details about Whitetail Management at www.wmapgh.com.

New Game Commission jobs

Record gun and ammunition sales have caused a nationwide ammo shortage, but federal excise taxes on those sales are reaping windfall revenues. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service redirects those Pittman-Robertson Act funds back to state wildlife management agencies, including the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Last week the agency announced it will invest the new resources in an expansion of hunter education; shooting sports outreach; and hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation programs. Two new jobs directly related to the new funding have been created in the Hunter Education and Outreach Division. The agency will hire a new hunter education specialist and a new shooting sports coordinator. More about these and other Game Commission jobs can be found at www.pgc.state.pa.us.


First Published October 12, 2013 8:00 PM


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