In the recent past, our commission has delivered opinions on various safety related issues, but few of them have generated as much discussion as the deer management program. Previous commission meetings have included commentary by residents on topics including deer-related vehicle crashes, deer eating gardens, and various environmental concerns.
Recent deer/vehicle crash statistics are shown below, as reported to the Mt. Lebanon Police Department and published by the commission in a February 2017 report. 
Deer vs vehicle crashes have increased every year for the past three years. However, this data alone is not enough to determine the cause of the crashes or the effectiveness of the deer management program. For a thorough understanding of the issue, we must first understand the change in deer population over the same time period and whether the reporting of deer-related incidents has risen as a result of the deer management program being in the public eye. Other factors to consider include weather patterns during these months, age and relative experience of the driver of the car, and what that driver may have been doing at the time of the crash.
We must also be mindful of anecdotal evidence, which may be harder to measure than the data points mentioned previously.
My family lives in an area that deer frequent; traveling from our rear yard to the front, crossing the street and then grazing on the across-the-street neighbor’s tiered landing. They also stop to eat fruit from our next-door neighbor’s trees and can often be found walking up our shared driveway.
One summer day, my wife and I were walking down the driveway with our then 4-year-old daughter Autumn. She saw a deer on the edge of the grass in our back yard, squealed in delight, and immediately ran toward the deer. We thought her loud noise would scare the deer away but, to our surprise, the deer walked up the driveway toward us. Our neighbor, who was closer to my daughter than my wife or I, immediately scooped Autumn up and started walking back up the driveway away from the deer. But the deer kept advancing toward us. All three adults starting yelling and the deer finally took off through the backyard. It was a lesson for me that we must respect the deer and be mindful of them in and around our yards. We must also be careful with young children and keep a watchful eye in areas where deer are known to frequent.
In the future, when considering the issue of deer management, we must be careful to consider all factors and data available to us, and when we believe there to be missing data we must be diligent in accumulating relevant data and factoring that into our decision.
If forced to choose between the safety of an animal or a resident I would always choose the safety of the resident. I am not opposed to using lethal culling methods, but I am also in favor of continuing non-lethal methods, as long as they are safe for our residents and allowable per relevant control agencies. Our history of using non-lethal methods to control the deer population is well documented, and its influence on the overall deer management program should not be understated.