How the City of Pittsburgh Hopes to Reduce Deer Population in Area Parks
A pilot program proposed by Mayor Ed Gainey’s office would permit one day of bowhunting in Frick, Riverview parks.
Calling all Hawkeyes and Katniss Everdeens. Your archery skills may be what the City of Pittsburgh needs to help reduce the deer population in two city parks.
Mayor Ed Gainey’s office has proposed the pilot program to City Council to establish controlled bowhunting for a one-day event, and hopes it will be advanced in time for the fall hunting season.
City Council gave preliminary approval for the pilot plan on Wednesday, and it comes up for a final vote next week. The action amends a law that prohibits hunting in the parks.
The initiative would first deploy 30 licensed hunters who pass a skills test to partake in the event. Hunters would first take a doe that would be donated to a food bank. Animals must be cleaned outside of city property, mayoral spokesperson Maria Montaño told WESA.
The second phase of the program would bring in U.S. Department of Agriculture hunters, which would cost the city roughly $10,000.
The parks would be closed to the public during the culling.
“The number of deer is bad for the parks, but it’s also bad for the deer themselves. There isn’t enough food to sustain them, and they are causing long-term damage — eating saplings before they take root. We’re seeing soil erosion and soil destabilization, and it has an impact on our ability to control landslides,” Montaño said in the article.
She added other area municipalities have deer-management programs in place, and USDA officials have determined there are an average of 51 deer per square mile of city parkland.
City Councilor Barb Warwick told WESA the overpopulation is also affecting residents who live near the parks and receives two to three constituent calls a week regarding the deer.
Montaño said the city is also meeting with local animal groups to discuss the danger of letting the deer population run amok.