UPPER ST. CLAIR (KDKA) — They may be cute grazing in your backyard, but when deer vehicle accidents topped 200 in the 10 square miles of Upper St. Clair in 2004, they said enough is enough.
“There is not a magic wand to make the deer go away, but some control needs to be in place because the only predator for deer anymore is man,” said Gary Fujak, a Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation officer.
So Upper St. Clair sent in the archers.
“We tracked it through four or five years, and it wasn’t enough,” said Mark Mansfield, the assistant township manager.
Deer contraceptives worked, but weren’t fast enough.
“There’s only one thing communities can really do, and that’s kill the deer and reduce the population for public safety,” said Fujak.
So, with state approval, Upper St. Clair brought in experts from USDA Aphis Wildlife Services.
“They use a small-caliber rifle with a soft ammo, so it doesn’t pass through the deer, typically,” said Mansfield.
The marksmen choose and bait a safe spot, and some nights harvest deer in the double digits.
“They’ve done a great job taking 140 to 150 animals a year,” said Mansfield.
The meat goes to local food banks.
And as for accidents, Mansfield says, “We’re down to about 60 to 90 per year.”
Culling is among the processes on the possibility list Mount Lebanon is considering, and other communities are keeping a close eye on Upper St. Clair’s success.
While the municipalities try to decide what they are going to do to control the deer populations, there are some things you can do to protect your own backyard.
There are things they sell in your local hardware store that are effective, but Fujak points out if it rains, it will wash off and you have to reapply it.
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