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Stephen Arch email@example.com www.facebook.com/sparch
Well, THEY ARE BACK AT IT. One thing about Mt. Lebanon residents and commissioners, they don't give up easily, and obviously, they have no care about what other people in other towns think about them. Damned if they are going to let anyone tell them what to do. Just when you thought it was over, here they come again, even stronger, given time, I assume to not only plot but to "save up enough money" to rid the town of deer "the right way." (Whatever the "right way" is - to them. Stay tuned; they will surely let us know). Can you believe they didn't give up the first time? Wonder if they thought if they waited this out, everyone would "forget" about their "trap to round up the deer in pens in the middle of the night and shoot them with guns with silencers as to not irreparably damage the psyches of the Mt. Lebanon sensitive and children? But no, not these people. They are out to "get their man, er, deer. Katy bar the door."
This time they plan on hiring sharpshooters, again, I suppose, with silencers on their sharpshooting riffles, archers (whose bows and arrows make no noise whatsoever - much more pleasant on the psyche), or sterilization, "the Mt. Lebanon commissioners," according to the June 25, 2015 edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review in an article entitled Mt. Lebanon CONFRONTS (my caps, sorry) Deer Control Challenges, "directed Mt. Lebanon staff to compare costs and next steps for using 'organized bowhunters, tranquilizing and sterilizing female deer, and culling the animals with sharpshooters,' municipal manager Keith McGill said." Really? Again? His reply, "'We'll (Mt. Lebanon management personnel) be looking at all three, and also looking at some combination,' McGill said."
Some combination? Well, this time, Mt. Lebanon is willing to consult property owners. maybe. As follows in the story "preparation for an archery program 'could' include a survey to see who would waive state prohibitions on using bows and arrows within 50 yards of an occupied structure and who would allow hunters on their property," Managed-archery specialist Jody Mattuck suggested.
That's right. Take a survey about relieving Mt. Lebanon's 50 yard rule for archers, but forget about any thought to the rifleman, er, sharpshooters. They are, after all, sharpshooters and "bag their deer" each and every time. The "archers" may not be accurate. This way, getting Mrs. Smith's permission to go inside while arrows may be flying by her head while she is putting out the wash may be a good idea.
Hint: do Mt. Lebanon residents know that people who live in other nice suburban towns call them "The Bubble?" I guess not, or they just don't care. Maybe, just maybe, someone should tell them that.
Their response, however, just might be: "that's why we're special!"
However, there is a twist to this story. At the same meeting, immediately following solving the "deer problem" in the town, the ruling class of Mt. Lebanon has agreed to install hand sanitizers in all of the Township parks. I guess this could be a "symbolic" reference to getting one's hands dirty when killing Bambi and her family.
A few short months ago, I wrote an article entitled "DON'T TELL MT. LEBANON RESIDENTS ABOUT THE TURKEYS, PLEASE. THEY MIGHT STILL BE STEWING ABOUT THE DEER AND NOT NOTICE THEM, YET." In the article, I stated the following:
Sometimes I sit back and reflect about finding the "right" story for my blog, sometimes looking for divine inspiration. I never worry because so much material exists in the world that writing about those stories is actually easy. It's the niche stories that have broader appeal that are a bit more difficult to "find" and "inspire." Sometimes, however, they just fall in your lap.
Mt. Lebanon Pennsylvania nemesis, the fawn - which will grow up to ruin shrubbery and cause damaged car bumpers, front ends, and hoods. Multiplying by the tens of hundreds, like rabbits, contaminating the beautiful and exclusive community.
For months on end: Deer invading Mt. Lebanon and ruining shrubbery. This week: Turkeys invading our neighborhoods. This morning, I awoke to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette written by John Hayes in the "Extra" section of the Friday paper (April 17, 2015), only to see an interesting story about turkeys invading our local neighborhoods. Living in Moon Township and previously in Clinton, Findlay Township, I have seen my share of wild turkeys - in the front yard, the backyard, the fields, neighbor's yards. In fact, I would say that I have seen as many wild turkeys in our neighborhoods as I have seen deer.
As I said, just as I was thinking of what next to write about, along comes the local Pittsburgh Tribune Review presenting me with a story that falls right into my hands. If I wait long enough, the stories write themselves, and along, again, come the Mt. Lebanon deer people. What else will entertain us more throughout the summer? More commissioner's meetings, more protests, more arguments, more angry people being thrown out of Mt. Lebo town meetings. The play is ready to be written, the actors ready for the stage, the producers (Mt. Lebanon politicians) have the means and the wherewithal to entertain the entire region. My bet is that this play runs the entire summer and into the fall. Which is, of course, deer hunting season. (And don't forget about those darn turkeys when you are done with the deer).
Reading the newspaper this evening, I noticed an eerily similar article in the Neighborhoods section of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. To my amazement, and delight, there, in bold letters, was an article titled "Options Pondered for Deer Control: Mr. Lebanon Mulls Over Sharpshooters, Archers, Sterilization."
I must pause writing here because my dogs are barking (in Moon Township). Honestly, there are a few friendly deer coming out of the woods and my dogs hear them. I have to let the dogs out to chase the deer away. Actually, having my one dog, a very obedient and energetic Norwegian Elkhound seems to be the perfect "deer repellent agent" in our household. The deer don't seem to come around our house that much anymore because our dogs yelp and chase them away. I never thought of hiring an archer or sharpshooter to stand on our deck and take the deer out permanently when our dogs do just as good a job. The intent is to keep the deer in the woods where they belong.
AND BESIDES THAT, MY WIFE IS AN EXCELLENT GARDENER AND LANDSCAPE "ARTIST." SHE PURPOSELY PLANTS SHRUBS AND FLOWERS THAT DEER DO NOT LIKE TO EAT. HER LANDSCAPING IS GORGEOUS (SOLD OUR LAST HOUSE JUST BECAUSE OF HER ABILITY TO GROW THINGS BEAUTIFULLY, according to the people who bought our house) - SHE HAS THE PROVERBIAL GREEN THUMB - AND i ALSO KNOW THAT SHE HAS SPENT HOURS RESEARCHING PLANTS THAT REPEL DEER ON THEIR OWN. I LIKE THAT. THAT, TO ME, IS USING HER BRAIN AS A TOOL AND NOT VIOLENCE. I THINK THAT'S WHERE MT. LEBANON COMMISSIONERS AND I PART WAYS. (Note: read Julie Martens Forney's article entitled "Deer resistant annuals: Outsmart Bambi by learning which annuals deer don't usually eat." bUT, THAT WOULD TAKE A DIFFERENT TYPE OF "ATTACK" PLAN FOR THE RESIDENTS OF MT. LEBANON. ACTUALLY TAKING STEPS BY BEING PROACTIVE RATHER THAN HAVING MEN AND WOMEN WITH RIFLES AND BOWS AND ARROWS PATROLLING THE MT. LEBANON STREETS. THAT'S MORE EXPENSIVE, BUT DEFINITELY EASIER.
The article continues. Mattuck will "try to see how many landowners (in this densely populated area) would be willing to have archers on their property ... rather than going out and getting archers and finding out there are only two properties where they can hunt." (What deep forethought). He said "going door to door and explaining the program to owners could take a year. Opinions (yes, they are seeking opinions this time) on hunting hours, whether wounded deer could be removed from a property (so, archers don't exactly 'kill' deer with a single shot, I guess), and what kind of tree stands or elevated platforms are acceptable..." Mattuck says "his archers have a 5 percent wounding rate. That's a possible 5% of deer running into your backyard with an arrow sticking out of its side. Or, better yet, and maybe the Mt. Lebanon commissioners haven't thought about this yet, that's a 5% chance of a wounded deer running out onto Route 19 and slamming into a car and causing a serious accident. What better to cause an accident? A scared deer darting across a highway or a wounded, bleeding, dying scared deer darting across a highway. Choose your poison, I suppose. Darn deer.
I can see it now. Driving through Mt. Lebanon. House after house, backyard after backyard, with deer stands and elevated platforms, maybe even on some house's roofs (or "rooves" as some Mt. Lebanon residents may prefer - the older, more formalized English way of pluralizing the roof). That would be a site. Kids walking to school (remember, no school buses in Mt. Lebanon) past orange clad archers with bows and arrows (or sharpshooters with high powered rifles with silencers). Maybe they wouldn't be wearing orange. Don't want to make it too conspicuous, do we?
I won't, can't belabour this point anymore. It's either too funny or too sad. I can't decide which one. Whatever the outcome, Mt. Lebanon is hankerin' to kill off its deer population, come hell or high water. They are committed to blaming the deer for car accidents when we all know the only "accidents" that deer are causing in Mt. Lebanon is EATING THEIR ROSES, LISIANTHUS, HYDRANGEAS, TULIPS, SAFFRON CROCUS', ORCHIDS, or their KADUPUL FLOWERS, as well as damaging their neatly groomed shrubs and arborvitae and eating their HOLLY BERRIES. This is what the deer cull is truly about, and I don't really believe there is any other reason. Mt. Lebanon residents are angry; however, Moon, Robinson, Greentree, and North and South Fayette residents all have expensive shrubbery and indeed have deer issues. But you don't see us wasting time and money to kill, maim, or sterilize our deer. We enjoy our wildlife, however disruptive they can be at times. And, for the record, I have driven down my street many times (we live on the edge of a deeply wooded region in Moon) only to see four or five deer in our driveway or walking across the street. I always drive down our street slowly just in case an errant deer does indeed run out from between the houses.
Plus, the turkeys are the proof. Turkeys are low flying, almost comical flying birds that do indeed run into power lines, telephone poles, and cars. Last year, in the midst of the deer arguments in Mt. Lebanon, a story appeared about the kindly Mt. Lebanon police department holding up traffic on Route 19 to permit a flock of turkey to cross the thoroughfare. Can't see that happening with the deer. Maybe if the commissioners followed the police department's lead, they could just "shoo" the deer to crosswalks and allow the crossing guards to let the deer pass, unhurt.
I kind of like the wildlife anyway. It's neat to see fawns and doe up close, particularly the newborns still with their spots. I think it's a beautiful site, as well as seeing turkey and other "wild" animals roaming around the neighborhood. And guess what? We feed the birds - the blue jays love peanuts. The squirrels and other birds fight over the suet cakes. And the most intriguing spectacle is that rare woodpecker, so many different species (the black-backed, the three toed, the downy, the hairy, the pileated - so many types) on the back deck vying for their place on the bird food chain.