SCOTT TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — While hunters complain that deer in the forest are on the decline, in urban and suburban Allegheny County, the Game Commission says the opposite is true – the population is at an all-time high.
“It’s a healthy deer habitat. If I was a deer I’d want to live in Allegheny County too,” PA Game Commission Officer Gary Fujak said.
With plenty of trees and gardens on which to feed and the hunting limited, the deer population is spiraling out of control in towns like Scott Township to dangerous affect.
In 2007 there were 19 vehicle collisions with deer – 33 in 2008, 39 in 2009 and just last year there were 46 accident involving deer — many along Forsythe Road.
“We’re talking 100 pound plus animal striking you whenever you go down the road,” Fujak said.
The deer tend to breed in Scott Township Park and then fan out into the neighborhoods foraging for food.
The township is concerned that residents who feed the deer are only making the problem worse.
“What we’re proposing is an ordinance that will prohibit the ground feed of wildlife in our township,” Scott Township Commissioner David Jason said.
Hoping to curb that growth, Scott is set to vote on what would be the first ordinance in the county prohibiting residents from feeding deer.
Jason says putting food out is creating other problems.
“The excess food that ends up on the ground ends up creating a rodent problem, insect problem and it’s a health issue with the Lyme disease, the deer ticks,” he said.
The Game Commission hopes that Scott starts a trend, but concedes it’s not the whole solution to curbing the deer population.
“It’s the best first step that communities can take to address their deer issues,” Fujak said.