Urban Deer ‘Out Of Control,’ Fueling Lyme Disease Fears

A group of deer stand together in the yard of a farmhouse Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, near New Hope, Pa.(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

“The PA Game Commission has failed in their primary task.”

City dwellers seek relief from disease carrying deer |

Headline Health – Residents of major northeast metro areas including Pittsburgh and New York are reporting residential neighborhoods overrun with unwelcome whitetail deer.

The lack of hunters in these highly populated areas has created suburban parklands for hungry bucks, does, and fawns.

In the Pittsburgh area, Mr. & Mrs. Gerald S. are pleading with their state legislator to bring some form of relief to Penn Hills township, a neighborhood directly abutting the Steel City.

Penn Hills is the second-largest municipality in Allegheny County, after the city of Pittsburgh

In an open letter addressed to Rep. Tony DeLuca and published in a local news outlet on Monday, the longtime residents wrote:

Dear Tony, 

How about introducing a bill requiring the PA Game Commission to control the out of control Penn Hills (and all Allegheny County residential communities ) deer populations?

The hoards of ravenous white-tailed deer living in essentially ‘no hunting’ residential areas are causing millions of dollars property damage and that does not count the many serious automobile accidents they cause.

Besides the vehicle accidents, suburban deer are an increasing health hazard with the epidemic of chronic wasting disease which could possibly cross over to humans and other animals.

Plus white-tailed deer are the primary carrier of Lyme disease-infected ticks which my wife and I have both contracted. not to mention the piles of e Coli contaminated deer excrement in everyone’s’ yards As you know many wealthy communities have instituted culling programs for all the above reasons.

Unfortunately, Penn Hills and many other poor communities can not afford expensive culling programs.

The PA Game Commission has failed in their primary task. We think Penn Hills would be better served if you (Rep. Tony DeLuca) introduced legislation that requires the PA Game Commission to control the out of control residential deer populations.

Gerald S., Verona, PA (republished with permission of the author) 

“A decade ago, deer were a rare sight on Staten Island … By 2017, the new estimate was between 1,918 and 2,188.”

Those Deer in Your Yard? They Are Here to Stay

The deer population of the eastern U.S. has exploded and cities are trying to keep it in check.

But the options available to them are limited, and fraught.

Aug 7, 2017

CityLab – The deer population of the eastern U.S. has exploded and cities are trying to keep it in check. But the options available to them are limited, and fraught.

A decade ago, deer were a rare sight on Staten Island. White-tailed deer are thought to have abandoned the island in the late 19th century, pushed by human development to open land in nearby New Jersey.

In 2008, the estimated deer population of the 60-square-mile borough of New York City was only 24.

Then the deer came back, swimming across the Arthur Kill and Raritan Bay from New Jersey in search of new habitat. And they reproduced—boy, did they reproduce. An aerial survey of the deer population in 2014 put it at 793.

By 2017, the new estimate was between 1,918 and 2,188, an increase of 9,000 percent in just nine years.

To various degrees, towns and cities across the Northeast have been seeing an ongoing resurgence of deer populations in recent decades, as suburbanization patterns deepened and hunting practices faded.

If you live anywhere outside of an urban downtown, you’ve probably noticed this trend yourself.

Deer are cute. We’ve all cried watching Bambi. So what’s the problem?

Well, there are a few. Hungry deer will eat (or trample) almost anything in a garden, becoming a pest for urban and suburban homeowners.

Over-browsing by deer depletes the undergrowth of woodland, threatening birds’ habitat and the regeneration of trees. And when deer wander into the road, the results are not so cute.

There are about 1.25 million collisions between cars and deer, elk, and moose annually in the United States, according to the insurer State Farm, and these cause around 150 human fatalities, and countless animal deaths, each year.

They also harbor the insects that carry Lyme Disease, which is on the rise: Reported cases have tripled since the early 1990s, and the true incidence may be 10 times higher, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The black-legged tick that carries Lyme is commonly called the deer tick, and deer are the main reproductive hosts for adult ticks, but ticks do not become infected with Lyme from the deer—that happens earlier in the tick’s life cycle, usually from feeding on white-footed mice. Read more. 

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