Urban Deer
By Blaine Toy

Recently USP President Randy Santucci was interviewed about an idea he had by John Hayes of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regarding the overpopulation of urban deer. But in typical reporter fashion John Hayes, knowing Randy is president of USP, wrote the article taking advantage of an opportunity to tie it to Unified Sportsmen of PA, incorporating a back door shot at our well known efforts to increase the deer herd which has caused some confusion.

There is a problem with overpopulation of urban deer. Most of the deer reside in areas where it would be dangerous to hunt them, and in some instances the residents are against any type of hunting. The PA Game Commission has failed miserably on handling this issue. They blanket-ly issue thousands of doe tags for those areas. The problem is too many of those tags issued on the WMU level are being used outside the urban deer problem areas. Randy's suggestion working with PGC commissioner Hoover, was one to alleviate that over-harvesting outside the urban problem areas, while concentrating archery hunting in the needed areas only. As you see Randy's idea indeed was one to increase deer numbers in hunt-able areas.

In area 2B the doe tags are never/rarely sold out, yet the overpopulated area problem is never resolved. A major problem is 2B is that it encompasses parts of Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties which have rural areas that do not have a problem with deer. With 61,000 doe permits issued in 2B, these areas get hunted heavily which does nothing to help the urban deer problem mostly within Allegheny County.

Randy Santucci suggested a plan for helping the problem with urban deer. His idea would be a small quantity of special tags for archery hunters, based on the area's need and size. His plan was is to allow one buck and two doe with that tag, but the hunter would be required to harvest one doe prior to harvesting a buck or another doe. Those individuals would still have their buck tag available with their regular license, and would not be permitted to purchase a doe license anywhere else in the state. The extra buck tag can only be used in the problem zone identified from the tag. This extra buck tag is the carrot to bring hunters into these areas and concentrate their hunting effort to alleviate the deer problem. Statewide it helps because as stated, any hunter receiving this tag forgoes applying for any other doe tags.

As with many articles published, it gets twisted and the PGC and their cronies use every opportunity to make USP look bad claiming we have changed our position regarding deer. USP is still in the front of the fight to get the PA deer herd restored. PA was a top deer hunting state at one time, but now we are the laughing stock of the nation and have lost billions dollars of revenue due to DCNR and The Pennsylvanian Game Commission’s kill the deer program.

I have seen the urban deer problem first hand several years ago, I visited several parks in Allegheny County and observed the over population of deer. I attempted to get permission to hunt those areas, but was told specific clubs had those park permits and since I was not a member I could not hunt them. I have also talked to persons that hunt these parks and were told they were required to harvest a doe first and were not permitted to harvest a buck until that doe was properly tagged and removed from the area. The earn a buck idea has been around a long time and if incorporated in the urban areas could help the problem.

Which it better, letting hunters harvest a deer and use the meat promoting our sport, or sending in sharpshooters and killing the deer which now happens in some of these urban areas?

USP still strongly supports the deer bills proposed on March 19, 2014 at the House Game and Fish Committee hearing and we are fighting for the Pennsylvania hunters to help get it restored to a top deer hunting State.




©2011 • Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania