Deer Population Growing In, Around City Of Pittsburgh

NORTH SIDE (KDKA) — They’ve come in from the woods and the forests and made themselves at home in our yards and flower gardens.

Unchecked deer populations are thriving throughout our suburbs and even our urban areas, posing a major threat to drivers.

Just last week, a car hit a deer on Grant Street downtown and a deer caused the Liberty Tubes to be shut down.

A USDA survey showed that the city’s four major parks are home to hundreds of deer who have over-browsed the woods and who often wander on to busy streets nearby causing more than 100 car accidents in the city each year.

Their numbers are only growing, primarily because no one hunts them, but also because people feed them.

Homeowners at the edge of Riverview Park on the North Side spread out feed corn in their backyard.

“This supports artificial populations that are already very high and the last thing we need to do is feed the deer,” Gary Fujak with the Pennsylvania Game Commission said.

On Rochester Road in the North Hills, a man has turned his property into a nature reserve feeding wild turkeys, ducks and deer which the Game Commission says have been the cause of several collisions.

Feeding deer is not illegal in the state, but Ross homeowner Karla Maruca says her neighbor’s feeding of the deer has caused the deer to move in and eat the flowers and shrubs as well.

She’s working with the township to implement a feeding ban.

“We have to stop the feeding,” Maruca said. “We’re killing our environment.”

Back in Riverview Park, the deer don’t scatter when approached by humans and they inch closer with the hope of a handout.

“This isn’t normal. They’re habituated to humans – they’re used to people being around them and feeding them,” Fujak said.

Sheehan: “It’s like a trained deer.”

Fujak: “Yes, it’s not natural. It’s not healthy.”

Pennsylvania leads the nation in accidents involving deer and some communities have invited sharpshooters from the USDA to cull their numbers.

Look for others to adopt feeding bans.

  • Jeremy

    THE POPULATION IS NOT INCREASEING and its not the people feeding the deer thats causing the problem!! HAS ANYONE NOTICED THAT ALL OF OUR WOODS ARE BEING DESTROYED AND CLEARCUT for developers to put up these cookie cutter homes???? THIS IS THE PROBLEM. THEY ARE DESTROYING ALL OF THE WOODS WHERE THE DEER LIVE! FORCING THEM INTO OUR STREETS AND CITIES AND NEIGHBOORHOODS!!! They need to realize this and quit making excuses. Leave our woods alone! these BUILDERS could care less about the DEER getting killed, they only care about the $$$$ they get for building these homes..redicilious.

    • tammie

      I agree, stop destroying their homes and stop building!

  • D


    pa’ game commision has a limited deer season, not to mention pa also allows gas companys to drill in the forest which in turn is driving these deer out of the woods looking for fresh water and food. why hasnt marty done any special investigating on this? Yinz people always looking for a easy way out

  • chris houston

    50 million deer, not a chance and wonder where you get your numbers? if the population was that high the hunters would be happy again! there are ways to control the deer population and feed people! maybe someone should think about letting responsible hunters in to hunt them! thank you

  • Ray

    I agree 100% with you! It APPEARS that the population is out of control because they are forced out of their homes. FACT IS, they have not done a population count per acre of land. If you take that ratio, with all of the woods they are destroying, it is a false reading that its a population increase. HOW WOULD the BUILDERS LIKE IT IF SOMEONE BULLDOZED THEIR HOME???? i wish they would.

  • Lisa

    No government control of what we do on our own land!! The deer have no where to go I agree, man has taken all their natural habitats away. ! Beware everyone pretty soon it will be illegal to feed the birds!
    Guess Andy Sheehan hates wildlife too!!

  • will g

    how about we feed them birth control pills

  • Rogie

    I totally agree also! Let hunters come in and hunt, but make them give the meat to shelters, or make them buy a special license. Either way, its win-win!

  • geedogg

    It should be a constant open season on all deer in the city limits and parts of the burbs. Why does the PGC put a (4 points to a side) antler restriction on anlered deer in Allegheny Co?? There shouldn’t be any restrictions. The hurt definitely needs reduced drastically.

    BTW, who would pay for birth control?? It’s absolutely to costly.

    • Hunter With Common Sense

      Even if there weren’t restrictions many hunters such as myself take no satisfaction in killing spikes and 4 points, or first year bucks in general, so the antler restrictions are the last thing you should worry about. The PGC offers something like 68,000 doe tags in Unit 2B which is made up of mostly Allegheny County. This is the logical thing to do because for every doe you harvest you are essentially eliminating 2 or 3 deer from the herd (doe + future fawns). A ton of deer in general are taken every year by hunters, not counting car accidents, natural deaths and predation. If you want the problem solved, then the POSTED signs need to come down and hunter’s need to be viewes as a useful tool in managing our natural resources as opposed to just barbarians.

  • Milo Briggs

    Jeremy, you said it best.

  • Slick

    It was there land way before it belong to the humans humans are destroys all the woodlands causing them to find other places to live so it all comes down to it that its Man’s fault for the deer problems quit clear cutting all the forests how would you like it if i came and bulldozed your house well thats what we are doing to them let them be deal with and shut up They were here first

  • cujo

    So THAT is where alll the deer went to… Across most of the state the gameless commission has ruined the deer herd. Those that hide between the housing projects are immune from the 5 billion doe tag blight.

    • Hunter With Common Sense

      Is it the game commission that is out in the woods pulling the triggers or is it the hunters? It amazes me how many so called hunters cry about how the PGC has ruined the herd yet they still go out and whack all the doe they can to prove theyre men. The deer are still there, you just have to hunt further than 50 feet from your car now.

  • An Avid hunter

    First of all, lets get one thing clear. Its not because of drilling for oil, or feeding the deer in our back yards. The problem is the game commission changed the requirements for hunting. You cannot legally shoot a male deer(buck) in and around Allegheny county unless it has (4) points on one side. So the hunters are looking for doe instead. Meanwhile there are more bucks to impregnate the the doe. Another prblem is there aren’t many legal hunting areas in Allegheny County. Open the parks to archers, this happened back in the 70’s. Archers had to qualify to hunt in the parks with their bows. Why not try this again, and farmers open up there lands as a safety zone for hunters. The deer normally eat vegitation / ornamentals regardless of what people feed them. Make it legal to hunt in the suburbs with bows or shotguns.

    • Hunter With Common Sense

      The WMA has been and still is hunting the parks with archery equipment. This has been going on for years as a means of population control and they do a very good job, not to mention they donate A LOT of meat to the needy every year. I’m really not sure what you were getting at with the whole point restriction thing and having more males to breed the does, but none of it makes sense. Does will be bred regardless of how many males there are. If she is not bred during the first rut, she’ll come in to heat 28 days later. This will go on until she is bred. For the record, bucks won’t breed does until they are 2 or so anyway so the spikes and 4 horns that aren’t being shot have very little to do with the breeding cycle anyway. Now, there are indeed several issues at play here. One is the fact that with so many people feeding deer these days of course the population is going to appear out of control. As was mentioned, while there may normally be 20 deer that live in a certain set of woods, there may very well be 60 now because deer will come from miles away to score on an easy food source such as piles of corn, apples, and so forth. The building of homes and strip malls also has a lot to do with it. When you take away woods, where will the deer go? Isn’t it odd that we have all of these bear sightings in Allegheny County now while they’re developing the heck out of Butler? Finally, the real reason there are so many deer in Allegheny County is simple, BECAUSE THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE A TON OF DEER HERE IN ALLEGHENY COUNTY. This is nothing new by any means, but apparently the media is looking for new things to cover. Mild winters, ample food and a healthy herd to begin with will assure that the numbers will always be high in Allegheny County. Hunter’s can only do so much, the rest is up to mother nature and I assure you that as soon as she sees and issue with the holding capacity of the land, she’ll step in and take care of it.

  • Another avid hunter

    First, feeding the deer IS part of the problem. The more food available in an area, the more deer will come in that area and stay in the area.This is especially true in winter when there is less natural food in the woods for deer. Starvation is one of nature’s ways to keep animal herds in check. Second, I don’t think new construction of homes is a problem. That’s mostly happening near cities and in the suburbs, not in the the counties with a lot of forest area. According to the State Game Commission, the deer herds statewide are getting smaller. Checkout this story from last march on channel 6 from Johnstown
    We need to let the bowhunters and shotgun hunters in Allegheny County do their thing.

  • At my wit's end in Bethel Park

    30 years ago at my home in Bethel Park a deer sighting was 1-2 about once a week. Rarely even saw tracks. Used to have to go spot them in vast undisturbed woods of South Park. Now I see groups of 5 -12 daily right outside my door. And what I dont see leave tracks in the snow that remind me of those Dances With Wolves buffalo trails. Sprawl is only a tiny part of the problem. You cant tell me there arent exponentially more deer out there. And these deer are HUNGRY! Cant grow vegetables. No vegetable garden for 10 years that wasnt eaten by a deer before it matured. The term “deer-resistant” flowers and shrubs is a joke to me. Used to be true. Not enough food to go around now. They will now eat anything but the lawn. Some of these deer are enormously fat too.

    I think because there is so much food available and there are no predators or hunting not only do the deer survive longer, but they have litters of 3-4 when it used to be 1, sometimes 2. Something has got to give. I’d gladly let hunters kill deer right from my back porch if it were legal. I don’t like guns. I dont like the bow archery either, but I could stomach it to get this deer menace under control already. It’s beyond a nuisance. It’s getting worse by the day. Kill! Kill! Kill!

    • bethel parkers are cake eaters

      Get a dog yuppi.

  • Debra

    Ms. Maruca, Deer don’t kill the enviroment PEOPLE do!

  • Jeanne

    I agree with most of the comments I’ve seen – it’s not the deer – it’s people destroying their habitat which by the way is great for us to get to see and walk through once in a while, too. It is beautiful and disappearing too quickly. Just 5 years ago there was a nice little wooded area of several acres near my home with a pond that was great for the kids to skate on in Winter and they were careful not to hurt the wildlife, but to enjoy watching it. It is now gone and full of huge new homes that haven’t even sold yet (who can afford them and who needs homes that big?) So the deer now come into our yards looking for shrubbery, etc. to eat and sometimes sleep under some of our trees!

  • Kettle

    Dont you realize that deer probably lived where your home is before it was built? Hypocrites

  • spay and neuter yourselves

    Deer are part of the environment. You want to kill them cause they eat your flowers. We take much more away from deer than deer take from us.

  • Kettle

    Then why dont you marry a deer if you love them so much you big $lut.

  • City Folk!

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people think that deer are being driven from their woodland homes by housing developments. True, urban sprawl eliminates some forms of habitat for some species, but deer sure aren’t one of them. For the open-minded, a quick example tells the story. In northcentral PA, there are HUGE expanses of undisturbed forests and the overall deer population is very low. That’s why the Game Commission only issued 26,000 doe tags last year in management unit 2G. However, in unit 2B, which is essentially Allegheny County (and a much smaller area than unit 2G), the Game Commission issued 68,000 doe tags. The actual doe harvest in unit 2B was also over 3 times that of unit 2G even though it’s a much smaller unit. The numbers don’t lie…deer are an edge habitat species and absolutely thrive in fragmented habitats resulting from urban sprawl (especially when the suburbanites feed them). The primary reason for huge deer populations in urban areas is lack of natural predators/hunters. Or to put a finer point on it, the posting of private property and hunting bans by animal-loving city folk who think that deer are pretty pets that should never be a harmed. Suburbanites like the country feel a few trees and a deer in their backyard gives them, but they fail to understand that they’ve created an unsustainable situation. The only practical solution is to allow hunting by private citizens or use taxpayer-funded US Fish & Wildlife snipers at 3am while the animal lovers sleep (like in Upper St. Clair). The city folk can decide. I’m glad I live in the country.

  • HL


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