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Controversial Mt. Lebanon deer-culling program may return

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon could at least study its deer population again next year and may even go back to a controversial program to cull the animals to reduce collisions with cars.

At a commissioners' meeting Tuesday night, Commissioner Kristin Linfante said that the Mt. Lebanon Police Department had recorded nearly 150 reported incidents between cars and deer between September 2011 and September 2012.

She said it was “just a matter of time” before there is a fatality.

Linfante proposed including $50,000 in the 2013 budget for a management plan, which would include a deer population survey; educational materials on nonlethal ways to deter deer; crossing signs for high-density areas; and a culling program in the parks and on volunteers' properties.

Linfante pointed to Upper St. Clair's successful deer-culling program, in which the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services conducts controlled hunts.

Mt. Lebanon had a similar program until 2008, when it was ended amid concerns about expense and safety.

Although no action was taken, commission President Dave Brumfield said there appeared to be support on the commission for at least conducting a study and putting out educational materials.

Some money for deer will be included in the proposed 2013 budget, he said, but the panel will have to decide whether it will allocate the entire $50,000 Linfante is requesting.

Brumfield said he'd prefer conducting the survey and education before culling. The commission banned feeding deer this summer, hoping it would make it harder for the herds to find food.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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