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Mt. Lebanon considers sharpshooters to help thin deer herd

| Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, 11:45 p.m.

A longstanding debate in Mt. Lebanon showed no signs of settling down Monday night as commissioners considered adding sharpshooting to archery to control the deer population.

Keith McGill, Mt. Lebanon's municipal planner, presented commissioners with several proposals for sharpshooters that he has received. A vote could occur at the Oct. 13 commissioners meeting.

Supporters of the hunting effort, which includes most commissioners, say Mt. Lebanon's deer population is out of control, jeopardizes motorists and damages manicured lawns. The municipality seeks to reduce the deer population to reduce car-deer accidents.

“A large number of residents of Mt. Lebanon want their commissioners to manage the deer herd,” said resident Michalina Pendzich, who spoke on behalf of Lebo Residents for Effective Deer Management, a group that favors the deer cull.

Opponents say any kind of hunting in the densely populated municipality is inappropriate and unsafe.

“The municipal-sponsored archery kill is stupid, crazy and places lives in jeopardy. Our children are at highest risk because they must walk to school. We oppose the culture of violence in Mt. Lebanon,” resident Nita M. Fandray said.

Her concern is shared by commissioners in neighboring Scott, who say they are exploring legal options to halt hunting in Twin Hills Park, which is owned by Mt. Lebanon but located in Scott.

“They have not sought the consent of the Scott board of commissioners on this,” Scott solicitor Robert McTiernan said.

Until Jan. 23, seven authorized archers can hunt in Mt. Lebanon from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, Mondays through Fridays, on public property, and Mondays through Saturdays on private land. No hunting is permitted on Sundays.

There is a two-week break before Christmas.

Neither Mt. Lebanon officials nor Jody Maddock of White Buffalo Inc., the firm overseeing the culling, are providing updates as to the number of deer killed.

“If I start announcing numbers, it causes problems. I wait until the end of the season,” Maddock said on Monday.

Mt. Lebanon has agreed to pay the company $15,000.

Some residents complained about Maddock killing an African lion as displayed on the web site of a New York taxidermist.

Maddock said he killed the lion in a legal archery hunt in South Africa. “There's no there there,” he said.

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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