Outdoors notebook: Urban wildlife management receives national attention

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There's evidence that mainstream America may be waking up to urban wildlife management.

The cover story of the Dec. 9 edition of Time magazine, titled "Time to Cull the Herd," outlines problems associated with wild animal over-population in and near cities across the United States. The article correctly reports that many "nonlethal strategies tend to be either ineffective or expensive or both" and contraception of white-tailed deer "works only on captive populations." It even advocates hunting as part of the solution.

"Well-planned hunting can safely reduce the wildlife populations to levels that won't invite an invasion of fangs and claws," wrote Time reporter David Von Drehle. Science-based and frank without kowtowing to or taunting anti-hunters, the article's prominent placement was unusual in a national news magazine. It explained to mainstream readers how decades of bad wildlife management and habit destruction in the 19th and early 20th centuries nearly wiped out whitetails and some other animals in parts of the country. Von Drehle wrote that smart management is needed now to control growing wildlife populations near urban centers.

As southwestern Pennsylvania municipalities struggle with an ongoing urban deer problem, the Time story included an anecdote from Pittsburgh: "Dorothy Pantely, 83, of the Pittsburgh suburbs, witnessed not the extinction of the deer but rather the sudden arrival of two whitetails in the hallway outside her bedroom," read the story. "Thinking quickly, Pantely activated her emergency medical alert. When police showed up, they found the picture window smashed, the carpet damaged, the adult deer escaped and a frightened yearling left behind."

Steelhead program

Mark DeFrank, a fishing guide and 2010 Pennsylvania State Fly Tying Championship winner, will talk about winter and spring steelhead runs on Lake Erie tributaries at a Dec. 9 meeting of Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimwited. 7 p.m. at Brentwood VFW Post 1810 at Route 51 and Marylea Road, Brentwood. Call 412-881-9934.

Fly tying

Jeff Blood, creator of the Blood Dot egg pattern, and expert fly tiers Dale Fogg and Ted Zablocki, will demo tying techniques at the Dec. 11 Tri-County Trout Club meeting. Non-members $3, 7:30 p.m. at Fisher Hall, Burrell Lake Park, Lower Burrell. 412-298-0964.

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