Deer control wasn’t on the agenda for the Mt. Lebanon commissioners meeting Monday, but all residents at the podium wanted to talk about was deer. Tuesday, the municipality released a report from the deer management contractor, which documents 101 deer killed during the controversial controlled archery hunt.
Municipal manager Keith McGill said he considers the program to be a success.
“One of the goals was to put an efficient and safe program in place should the municipality decide to continue,” he said. “There were no safety issues related to the archery activities. I’m very pleased.”
Fulfilling its $15,000 contract, the nonprofit wildlife management group White Buffalo issued a preliminary report detailing harvest information, including sex ratio and number of private and public properties involved. Hunt manager Jody Maddock of White Buffalo said his archers had concluded their hunt, but Mr. McGill said the contract permits the White Buffalo hunt to extend through the end of the current doe-only season, which is Jan. 23. The report did not list property addresses or the names of participating archers.
“The goal was to build good relationships with landowners and with local archers so that this could be a sustainable part of the township’s deer management program,” Mr. Maddock said. “I think we’ve met that goal.”
Mr. Maddock said the program was designed to be one part of an evolving wildlife management plan. The commission’s goal is to reduce deer-vehicle collisions in the district by 50 percent in five years.
Eighty-one deer were harvested by archers who were recruited, screened and positioned by White Buffalo. An additional 20 were taken by independent archers who were not recruited by the contractor but who hunted independently.
According to the report, the hunt harvested eight antlered deer and 93 antlerless deer, of which 10 were male and 83 were female. In all, 82.2 percent of the deer killed were female.
“We clearly targeted does,” Mr. Maddock said. “Shoot a buck and you’ve killed one deer. Kill a doe and in several years you’ll have removed many more deer from the population.”
Although 180 residents offered to include their properties in the hunt, Mr. Maddock said many were not included for various reasons. Mr. McGill said archers hunted on the following public properties: Conservation District on Connor Road, golf course, McNeilly Park, Robb Hollow Park and adjacent Public Works property.
The report documented that about 2,520 pounds of venison was donated to Hunters Sharing the Harvest, a program in which hunters provide meat to charitable organizations.
The controlled hunt was Mt. Lebanon’s most recent attempt at wildlife management.
In December 2014, Mt. Lebanon commissioners tried to organize a controlled hunt, but the state Game Commission had run out of antlerless deer licenses. A trap-and-kill program failed in March 2015, when snow melt reduced its effectiveness.
Next Tuesday, commissioners are expected to discuss the effectiveness of the controlled hunt and vote on a concurrent plan to hire White Buffalo sharpshooters to cull deer over bait.
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