Deer management program helps control overpopulation

Sharpshooters hired by the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation killed 165 deer in city parks including 68 in Pennypack Park during the recently completed annual deer management program.

The deer cull began in December and was conducted on 14 nights over the ensuing 16 weeks, according to the city department. Hunters killed 20 deer in West Fairmount Park, 33 in the Wissahickon Valley, 28 in Cobbs Creek Park and 16 in Tacony Creek Park, in addition to those in Pennypack Park. As a result of the program, the city distributed more than 4,000 pounds of venison through local food banks to needy people in the Philadelphia area.

The affected parks are no longer subject to a nighttime curfew that program officials implemented as a safety measure.

“The project was conducted with safety as a paramount concern and carried out with the utmost efficiency and minimal inconvenience to the public,” the city agency said in a printed statement. “There were no incidents of injury and the public’s respect for the temporary 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew was evident and appreciated.”

The objectives of the deer cull are to reverse the negative impact of deer overpopulation on the vegetation in the city’s forests and to reduce the number of deer-vehicle roadway collisions in the city. The city will continue to monitor deer populations in its parks and take population control actions when needed. ••