ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Officials told Ross Township residents the safest plan to handle the deer population concerns is a managed archery hunt.

A meeting was held Tuesday night at the Ross Township Municipal Building to discuss the township’s deer management policy.

“Something needs to be done. These properties are being destroyed. Deer are eating everything in sight,” Ross Township Commissioner Dan DeMarco said.

DeMarco and the Pennsylvania Game Commission said the archery hunt would happen on public property, including parks.

It would not happen on private property unless a homeowner consents.

To make sure the hunting is safe, the Pennsylvania Game Commission suggested offering a shooting class.

And the township could certify the marksmanship of the hunters.

The hunting will happen during hunting season. Archery season starts in the middle of September.

The plan is to target does because they repopulate.

How many hunters allowed in this managed hunt is unclear.

“I support the archery program,” Julie Yacoviello of Ross Township said. “I think if we had qualified hunters that could hunt base on standards of the township, I think it would ease residents’ minds. It would be safe and structured a benefit to our community.”

The township didn’t give a timetable on when they will vote, but they hope it’s sometime in the spring.

“All these homeowners are losing dollars upon dollars in landscaping. No matter what you put in, the deer eat it. It’s crazy,” Cindy Allenbaugh of Ross Township said.

“I do love deer,” Zeb Campbell, a state game warden said. “I think every animal should be respected, but there’s a care and capacity here also. We can’t let our deer herds get out of control.”

Commissioner DeMarco is optimistic the plan will pass.

“I think we have enough public support to move forward with it,” DeMarco said. “And I think we need to get someone in here to look at the public property and show them the data we have.”

The deer meat will go to people in need and the homeless.