Archers hunting in local parks to cull deer population; some residents concerned

Archers are taking to the woods in municipal parks as part of a plan to cull the deer population.

The hunt will run through January.

People who live in the area are feeling conflicted about the tactic.

“To me, it’s a difficult situation. I love the deer. I know they are a problem,” said John Bielich from Bethel Park.

Deer were roaming around Simmons Park on Saturday. Two archer hunters were looking for them nearby.

In the same location, some parkgoers were not aware the hunt was happening because there were no signs posted.

“I didn’t even know they were down here, so I’ll probably just head back to the house,” Sharon Pilewski from Bethel Park said.

Police alerted residents about the archery deer hunt on its Facebook page and got mixed reactions.

Some people said they believed the hunt was something that needed to be done while others felt it was horrible.

“Anywhere in the South Hills, the deer quote is an issue. We are invading their space. We keep developing land, and so forth, there’s no place for them to go,” Bielich said.

According to police, the deer hunt is being organized through Suburban Wildlife Management Solutions.

The volunteer archers who are taking place in the hunt had to undergo an application process and take a proficiency test. They are all licensed and authorized. Bethel Park police say there are currently seven hunters.

Bielich said the fact that bows are used instead of guns is concerning.

“I would just prefer it not be archery. Only because I don’t think anyone is that good that can guarantee it’ll be a one-shot cool and put the animal down humanely,” Bielich said.

Bethel Park said the hunt is necessary to reduce the deer herd. They said the municipality has seen a 40% increase in the number of vehicle-related deer incidents.

The deer meat from the hunt will be donated through Hunters Sharing the Harvest food banks located throughout Allegheny County.

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