Survey: Lebo deer population increased dramatically

Published Jun 25, 2013 at 10:05 am (Updated Jun 25, 2013 at 10:05 am)

For the past year, Mt. Lebanon commissioners have heard an increasing amount of reports from residents that involved incidents with deer.

But at the commission’s June 24 discussion session, commissioners got to see on paper just how much the deer population has increased in Mt. Lebanon.

Mt. Lebanon Public Works Director Tom Kelley presented the results of a deer survey that occurred earlier this year, and Mt. Lebanon Police Chief Coleman McDonough reported his findings of a two-year long study that recorded incidents that involved deer where Mt. Lebanon Police were called to the scene.

Kelley said the survey occurred from 6-9 p.m. on Feb. 25 during a single infrared flyover from the Boise, Idaho-based company Vision Air Research. The survey cost $5,640.

The group counted 342 deer, or 57 deer per square mile, during the flyover. In comparison, a deer survey was done in 2006 that reported a total of 90 deer, or 15 deer per square mile, in Mt. Lebanon.

“When done during the winter, air surveys are very accurate,” Kelley said.

McDonough’s findings were from a study that occurred from May 2011 to May 2013. The study tracked how many incidents and police calls involved residents and deer. McDonough said an incident involving a deer ranges from car accidents, dead or injured deer being reported on the road or even deer invading a resident’s yard.

According to the report, in October 2011, there were 15 deer incidents reported, while in October 2012, there were 35 incidents reported. In May 2012, there were seven incidents reported and in May of this year, there were 36 incidents reported. McDonough said it costs $76 per incident when the municipality’s animal control unit is called to the scene of an incident involving a deer.

“I think we have a lot of deer in Mt. Lebanon,” McDonough said. “The question is, do we reduce the number or stabilize it?”

While commissioners were alarmed at the numbers from the reports, they expressed concerns for other reasons.

“We’re not only putting our residents at risk, we’re putting our public safety officers at risk, too,” commissioner Kristen Linfante said. “They’re driving down the roads at high speeds. It’s only a matter of time before a major disaster occurs.”

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