ShareThis Page

Saturday essay: Counting deer

| Friday, June 28, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

If the survey was accurate, the just-born fawn bedding down in the thick ivy behind the neighbor's house represents, in the least, Mt. Lebanon's 343rd deer in at least 117 groups.

That's a bit misleading, of course, given that the thermal aerial survey that Vision Air Research used to count the deer and their groupings was conducted four months ago, on the evening of Feb. 25. Deer being deer, well, they reproduce. Whether the birth rate has outpaced the death rate over the last four months — by natural causes, predator or automobile — is hard to factor.

But by any calculation, that's a lot of deer for Mt. Lebanon's 6.06 square miles of urbanized suburbia — close to 57 deer per square mile. It's a four-fold increase from 2006. And that's a recipe for lots of problems.

Hundreds of deer “incidents” have been reported over the past two years alone in the South Hills community, including car-deer accidents. Deer have taken to running in packs. Kids have been chased. Walkers have been challenged. And not just in parks, parklets or yards. We're talking on the streets.

The debate is raging over “options.” Mt. Lebanon hasn't culled its deer herd in six years. Deer lovers say leave deer enough alone. More reasoned folks know the dangers — everything from damaging the eco-balance of the flora to, if the deer become injured and diseased, inviting even more unsavory fauna (think coyotes), to more roadkill, to, God forbid, someone dying in a close encounter of the deer kind.

Doing nothing would be the reckless “option.”

­— Colin McNickle

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.