The city of Pittsburgh will randomly select 30 archers to go bow hunting in two city parks in an effort to control the deer population.
“In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the City of Pittsburgh is preparing to pilot a program of archery controlled hunts at Frick and Riverview Parks during the 2023-2024 deer archery season,” according to a Sept. 3 news release from the City of Pittsburgh.
Frick Park is 644 acres, while Riverview Park is 259 acres, according to the Pittsburgh Parks website.
Those wishing to hunt in one of the parks participate in a lottery system, with 30 people selected, the city said.
To be eligible, an individual must live in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, have a clean criminal record and a background check from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and obtain an antlered deer permit for the Pittsburgh Wildlife Management Area.
After being selected from a lottery and passing the background check, “selected archers must take an accuracy test,” the city said.
“If the accuracy test is passed, each hunter will be assigned a hunter ID number and a specific location in Frick or Riverview Park where they are allowed to hunt,” the city added.
Hunters selected for the program are subject to a “zero tolerance” policy — and will be immediately removed from the program if they are found to have violated program policies, the city said.
In addition, each hunter must first kill a deer (a female deer). The deer is then donated to a food bank.
Archers who shoot more than two deer from their park area “will be given preference in subsequent seasons,” according to the archery program’s rules and procedures.
According to the city, hunters aren’t allowed to use bait — and they’re not allowed to share pictures of their harvests publicly.
In a “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the website, the city explained that the deer population was out of control and dangerous to itself and to the people.
“Maintaining a healthy deer population is critical to both the health of the park and the health of the deer herds. The large deer population has overwhelmed their food source and limited the ability of native vegetation to take root and regenerate,” the website reads.
“In the absence of natural predators, we are seeing an increase in collisions between cars and deer, relentless damage to our ecosystem, and unnatural aggression toward pets and humans.”
Frick and Riverview Parks have the largest unregulated deer populations, the city said.
Additionally, the decision to start this program was made following an increase in the number of deceased deer found in parks.
“In 2018 Animal Care and Control picked up 335 deceased deer in Pittsburgh, and in 2021 Animal Care and Control removed 510 deer,” they said. Deer populations are doubling every two to three years, the city said.
Deer are also hosts to disease-carrying ticks, the USDA notes.
Because the goal of the archery program is to control the deer population, “the requirement to hit a deer first helps us achieve that goal,” the city of Pittsburgh said.
According to the city, deer can breed as young as six months old, and 98% of adult females breed each year.
“A doe can give birth to one or two young and occasionally triplets every year. “85 percent of births are twins and triplets,” the city said.
While there are ways to control the deer population without resorting to hunting, these methods would not be effective in Pittsburgh.
A multi-year, single-shot immune-preventing deer drug called GonaCon is not available for use in the state of Pennsylvania, the city said, and the existing deer population is already too large.
“Fertility control is often used in conjunction with deer herd reduction techniques and does nothing to reduce the already overpopulated herd size,” the city said.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the City of Pittsburgh and the USDA for further comment.