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The deer problem: Time to act

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Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

It's time for the Pennsylvania Game Commission to play a more proactive role in reducing the commonwealth's rapidly increasing urban and suburban deer population.

The deer herd, unchecked for too long in too many places, is far too large. The rising census not only imperils motorists and pedestrians but creates a gross imbalance in the ecosystem of Penn's Wood, setting the stage for a too-large herd in too-close quarters to be ravaged by disease.

Bob Frye, the outdoors editor for Trib Total Media, says Game Commission member Bob Schlemmer, an Export resident, has a fine idea — inspired by Murrysville's use of hunters — for controlling the deer population statewide.

Overcoming what Mr. Frye calls the biggest obstacle to deer control — lack of access for hunters — Murrysville has been organizing hunts in its parks that have culled its deer for nearly 20 years.

Says Mr. Schlemmer: “Maybe we need ... an employee of the Game Commission ... to work with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Erie, maybe Scranton-Wilkes Barre, to set up hunts.”

Among many other smaller communities, we would add.

That would move the Game Commission, usually reactive on such issues, to a proactive posture — benefiting millions of residents who are increasingly threatened by urban and suburban deer while simultaneously and responsibly expanding hunting opportunities.

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