Deer Doctor’s help to be the next step for the city of Mt. Lebanon.
Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania is a suburban community located on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, near the Allegheny River. The small municipality is home to about 33,000 people and an estimated deer herd of 400 to 500. Residents in the community feel the population number is too high and brought the issue to city council. The reasons behind the complaints include deer-vehicle collision rates and the destruction of suburban gardens and shrubs.
Deer feeding had been banned as part of the city’s comprehensive deer management plan. They also examined other options, such as trap and relocation, surgical sterilization, and fertility control agents.
Hunting was a considered option, but the panel didn’t believe hunters could eliminate enough deer to help reach their goal. However, hunting will likely be a supplemental action as the city moves forward.
The city plan calls for a 50 percent population reduction in three to five years. Before anything could be passed, hunting season was effectively over and the option of trap and euthanize won out. Much like feral hogs, the deer were baited into 6×8 wooden traps and then euthanized.
The goal was 150, but only 6 were captured from January to the end of March, when the program was shutdown. The meat was donated to a local processor and will be donated to local food banks through the Sharing the Harvest program.
With the failure of the deer culling program, the city decided to bring in a “Deer Doctor” as part of a plan to help educate citizens. Sandy Baker, the Deer Doctor, is a consultant for the Humane Society of the United States and is well-known for her knowledge on deer behavior and deer deterrent gardening. Sandy is also a lifelong organic gardener and the author of “Deer-Proof Your Garden in Five Easy Steps.” The doctor will be in Mt. Lebanon from April 25-27 to offer her knowledge, meet with concerned citizens, and give free seminars.