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Mt. Lebanon officials mum on deer-killing project

| Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, 10:30 p.m.

Three days into their latest deer-killing plan, Mt. Lebanon officials say they will wait four months before releasing information about how it's working.

Keith McGill, municipal planner in Mt. Lebanon, says he does not know whether any deer have been killed in the archery hunt, which started Saturday.

“Nor do I expect to receive (a report) prior to the end of the program (Jan. 23). I do not have the information,” he said.

Vickie DiNicola of White Buffalo Inc., the Connecticut firm overseeing the culling on both public and private land, did not return phone calls on Monday.

The municipality seeks to reduce the deer population to cut the number of car-deer incidents. It's agreed to pay the company $15,000.

Opponents of the cull — some of whom say they are looking for tree stands — accuse municipal officials of refusing to account for how tax money is spent and say the municipality could compromise public safety by not disclosing hunting locations.

“We want to know where this is going on. Nothing about this sounds safe,” resident Elaine Gillen said.

Resident Jason Margolis said he expects officials to keep information from the public unless there is an incident.

“We are paying for this, and they just refuse to talk about it. ... I don't think they will be transparent until something bad happens,” Margolis said.

Until Jan. 23, hunting will be allowed between 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset Monday through Friday on public property, and Monday through Saturday on private land. No hunting is permitted on Sundays.

In March, the municipality said it would issue weekly updates about the number of deer that Tioga County-based Wildlife Specialists LLC killed at a cost of $500 per head.

A plan early this year to bait, corral and shoot deer on municipal land caused much contention. The company killed only six deer before shutting down the program.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or rwills@tribweb.com.

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