PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Two of Pittsburgh's parks today will be full of hunters trying to cull the city's large deer population.
It's the first day of controlled bow deer hunting in both Riverview and Frick Parks in Pittsburgh.
This, of course, is the measure the city decided on to control the exploding population of white-tailed deer that they said is causing a lot of problems.
Now, this is a pilot program for deer management, according to the city.
In a statement released on Thursday, the city said "While deer are a normal part of the ecosystem, overpopulation can lead to a number of issues, including agricultural and landscape damage, risk of disease, and deer-vehicle collisions" among other things.
While the city said they did look into other options for management such as birth control, castration, and the transfer of deer to other parts of the commonwealth, they said that culling the herd is the best bet.
"It is clear that the only effective and cost-efficient deer management plan for parks and hence for cities includes hunting," said Madri Isler from Protect Our Parks and Gardens.
Starting today, and for most Saturdays through December 9, 30 archers selected by the city will be in both Frick and Riverview Parks in selected areas, hunting deer.
Timothy Arnold is one of the 30 select archers chosen by the city, and he was out this morning with this son doing a little scouting. He says he was shocked at the number of deer they saw today.
"Within the two hours that I was out, I probably saw 50 to 60 deer, and that is a lot of deer for this little area," said Arnold.
Arnold went on to say that he and his fellow archers appreciate the public's understanding as they work to help the community, but some neighbors say they are heartbroken by this solution.
"I am very sad for the deer," Riverview Park Neighbor Antoinette Furcron said. "I'm an animal lover. I realize that there is an overpopulation here of them, but there are also a lot of other things wrong with this park that the deer have not done... we are like murders, continuously, when does that stop?"
These archers had to apply and undergo background checks, as well as pass a rigorous archery proficiency test before they were chosen.
For the public and parkgoers, the parks will be open so people are asked to stay on established trails, wear bright-colored clothing, and keep dogs leashed out of respect for the hunters.
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