Controversial Plan to Manage Deer Population

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LAKE TOWNSHIP -- A private community in Wayne County may have a deer problem on its hands.

The Hideout wants to kill off some deer, but people who live in and around the place are not all for it.

The Hideout has more than 3,000 homes.

There are approximately 580 deer inside the community, according to a three-day USDA study done last year.

Now the general manager said that number has to come down. The Hideout is requesting 300 tags from the PA Game Commission along with a permit to cull the deer population, but not everyone agrees.

For many people who choose to live at The Hideout, it's a place to get away from the big city and live where wildlife is in their backyard.

Recently, however, The Hideout's general manager said deer have been a problem. There are too many deer feeding on shrubs, increasing the risk for Lyme disease, even causing crashes on the 40 miles of roads inside the gated community.

Some residents agree.

"Cockroaches and rats were pests, so we got rid of them. Deer here in The Hideout are just pests, so we need to get rid of them," said Tony Casabianca.

Casabianca came here from New York City and while he said deer make for nice scenery, he's with The Hideout’s claim that the growing deer population was ignored for too long - especially since it's an area where hunting deer is banned.

His neighbor, though, said he has no problem with the deer.

"I come outside my house every day, have my cup of coffee, sit outside to watch the deer come around here. It’s a beautiful sight," said Craig Mocerino.

There are no fences along the property line of The Hideout to keep deer in or out, so people who live nearby said any deer kill will have a spillover effect, meaning fewer deer in the general area of The Hideout.

"The deer belong to everybody and not exclusive to The Hideout," said Brian Chapman.

Chapman is one of those neighbors, worried that thinning the herd inside The Hideout will mean fewer deer for everyone come hunting season.

"We’ve talked to several of them that are already seeing less deer and are going to look at this now as saying why should I come up here?" he added.

The Hideout would still need a permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission in order to hire anyone to kill deer on its property.

Some who live inside and outside the gates said they hope The Hideout doesn't go through with the plan.

The general manager said all the deer meat would be donated to the Wayne County Food Pantry.

77 comments

  • Bruce Brooks

    sorry buddy they cant use rifles in the hideout and the deer population is the same as it was 10 yrs ago just the population of people has increased there. remember they are everybody’s deer not just the hideouts. My father sold 100 acres to make up most of the property there and I have lived here for 60 yrs and can tell u the deer population is about the same just bigger bucks due to the Pa Game commission s 4point program. Im kinda glad Im not in the same woods as u r!!!

  • julie

    If you don’t like nature and wildlife stay in the city, that’s why they have concrete jungles, and what about the safety of those that live in the Hideout year round? I don’t want to be worried about someone running around my yard shooting deer. What are they going tell us to not come out of our homes? Sorry but my kids and dogs go outside and we shouldn’t have to worry about them getting hurt or accidentally killed.

    • nepawoods

      This is necessary to protect nature and the wildlife. It’s not about anyone not liking nature, but rather understanding what needs to be done to protect it.

      It won’t be done near homes. It is typically done at night, by USDA sharpshooters, using rifles with silencers and night vision apparatus at remote locations where bait has been put out. They also shoot from a high spot, so that if they miss the bullet strikes the ground, and they use frangible bullets which disintegrate, so there’s no chance of a ricochet.

      • Matt

        It’s necessary to kill animals in order to protect nature…why? Because the people believe there are too many of them? I’m pretty sure deer were there way before anyone developed the land by destroying huge pieces of nature in order to make it a better living area for humans. The entire idea of “thinning out” the herd is absolutely ridiculous, if you can’t coexist with the wildlife around you dont move to a place where ya in your backyard everyday. I was a resident of the hideout when I was a small child and then moved to WLE and was there for about 12 years, both beautiful communities which allow residents to live right along with many species of animal, to me that’s the reason you move to area like that, not because you wanna develop it and decide “there’s too many deer in MY backyard”. Well it was their backyard first. I mean what’s next? Oh too many people have been hitting raccoons in their cars…better organize a hunt to thin them out….

      • nepawoods

        Humans have eliminated the deer’s natural predators. This has consequences. Go to a library and read up on population ecology. This is not about people having a problem with too many deer. The funny part is that you’re no different than the people from the city who have no idea what nature is. You’ve never been out in true wilderness (hint: you have to get out of your car and walk a few miles). The deer are emaciated, and their habitat (habitat for other things too) is being destroyed by severe over-browsing. You don’t see it; I do. There’s not an oak or maple sapling anywhere in the area. Trees die, and they’re not being replaced. Everybody likes seeing the deer (especially the city folk), but the health of the forest and the animals in it depends on there being sustainable balance, and that takes priority over getting your licks by being able to feed the deer from your hand.

  • My Dog Is Smarter Than You

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if all 580 resident deer were standing in Mr. NYC Casabianco’s yard tonight? Let’s throw in a dozen NEPA black bears too. Maybe he’ll get the message and go back where he came from.

  • David Kveragas

    They can exterminate every deer in the development and for 5 miles beyond. within a short period of time the problem will be right back to where it is now.
    The basic fact is there are too many deer statewide, despite what the disappearing number of hunters say. The reason there are too many deer is because the PGC is propagating them via everything from archaic hunting seasons (which includes the rifle season starting after the breeding season and then targeting buck almost exclusively after they have bred the doe with twins to replenish the herd for next year), to the millions spent on “food and cover programs”. Also, end the war on coyotes which are a natural deer control tool.
    Mandate that doe be killed and buck be allowed only after taking a doe and then only via a lottery go get a special buck tag, management area based, and see the problem disappear.
    Every deer in the state can disappear tomorrow, as was virtually the case the first half of the 20th century, and the only ones adversely affected would be the single digit minority of hunters.
    Bottom line is hunting is going extinct, yet the PGC is still using tactics and programs generations out of date as to managing the herd for trophies and sport.

    • My Dog Is Smarter Than You

      Bravo David. Well stated. Any chance you want to call Tom Wolf and take over the PA Game Commission?

    • Responsible PA hunter, with a freezer full of venison

      You are clearly miss informed. There are roughly 1 million licensed hunters in PA. There is a total population of about 12.5-12.7 million residents in PA. I’m certainly not a mathematics professor, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that is a little more then a single digit amount of hunters. With that said, the deer harvest totals have changed roughly 5% in the last decade.

      You are also dead wrong by saying “Bottom line hunting is going extinct”. There are more registered hunters in the US right now then ever before, especially since the introduction of the crossbow as a legal weapon.

      Now while I do agree that deer in the state are over populated for the amount of recent human population growth and needs to be reduced in order to keep the remaining deer population healthy. Wildlife needs to be properly managed in order to preserve species survival for generations to come… But I guess you have never eaten anything that wasn’t found on isle 12 at the super market, so you would know nothing about preservation or managed populations. People with your mindset are the reasons why the ecosystem is out of balance on so many levels.

  • My Dog Is Smarter Than You

    That’s funny. I hear that the deer at The Hideout want to get rid of pompous, New York City scum. Too bad deer don’t own rifles too.

  • Ford

    Simple solution, allow archery hunters to take the deer and donate them to various programs to help those in need. Thirty to fortyfive pounds of meat per deer adds up to alot of good eating for those that could use it. The solution to the problem should be a variety of options, and not just one.

  • nepawoods

    People move up here from the city and expect to have fun feeding the deer by hand, and think that’s what nature is. They have no clue what’s normal, and can’t grasp the concept of too many deer damaging the ecosystem. But you don’t need sharpshooters for this. Just walk up with a donut in one hand and a hammer in the other.

    • QDMA

      You might be on to something there. More people are killed in the US with hammers, not guns – so, the same should apply to deer. Next year, the Remington is being replaced by a Stanley.

  • Not_a_Recent_Immigrant

    I know that you don’t speak for all of the people who were born in the area. The vast majority of those people are gracious and are not prone to the use of stereotypes and witless sarcasm.

  • scott

    If it’s that big of a problem, make sure no one feeds them, and eliminate any food sources they have within the community. If there isn’t any food they’ll move on their own. I moved here to enjoy nature and the wildlife as well, and realize that i’m in their space, and they were here first This summer we had a pretty bad bear problem, we found several people that were feeding them, and they were advised to stop immediately, we still had a couple coming around, but once the abundance of food was cut down, most of them left on their own.

    • Pat

      EXACTLY!!!! The problem of too many deer in the Hideout lies in the fact that they’re all migrating there because they are being FED. Stop your residents from feeding them, and the deer will spread out into more land searching for food. I think it’s ridiculous that they want to kill 300 deer, but yet don’t let licensed hunters into the property to help with the over growth of the population. My family relies on hunting to feed us throughout the winter, but it’s getting harder and harder to find deer on legal hunting property because of the feeding problem that’s going on in communities like this. It happened not long ago in WLE as well!!!

    • nepawoods

      They eat plants, including tree leaves. Young trees of many species don’t stand a chance with a heavy deer population. You can’t remove those food sources. The whole point is that we need those plants to be there to have a healthy ecosystem. Things are normally kept in balance by there being natural predators, but these have been eliminated.

  • Susan

    I lived in the Hideout for 11 years. The deer are dying just fine on their own. They don’t need our help. If you want flowers, grow them in a pot on your deck. Prevent auto accidents by driving slower. Deer are supposed to eat grass and shrubs in their natural habitat. Most people don’t know that deer desire human companionship, and will actually come and sit near you if you are outside. There are too many people in the world, but we don’t kill them off if it gets too crowded. Mother Nature decides how many deer should exist. Let nature take it’s course and let humans actually do something productive in the Hideout for a change.

    • Ford

      Deer do not desire Human companionship!!! Where in the natural world do you find such deer, typically where they have been habituated by HUMANS. No where in nature does a prey species seek out the company of a predator, unless people have intervened in some manner. I really would like to know what your home planet is like??

    • QDMA

      “Prevent auto accidents by driving slower.” So we’re going to lower the speed limit on all the highways everywhere now? “Deer are supposed to eat grass and shrubs in their natural habitat.” Umm, their natural habitat are the woods and fields, not gated residential communities. “Most people don’t know that deer desire human companionship, and will actually come and sit near you if you are outside.” And how do you know that? What PETA propaganda pamphlet did you get that out of? Deer are wild animals. Get away from where they are fed and try walking up to one. “Mother Nature decides how many deer should exist.” Couldn’t agree with you more. And how is that accomplished? Through disease and starvation. Constant access to easy food sources weakens the herd and promotes the spread of disease and inbreding. Look up ‘Chronic Wasting Disease’.

    • nepawoods

      “If you want flowers, grow them in a pot on your deck.”

      It’s not about flowers. What about trees? Do you see any oak or maple saplings in the Hideout? No.

      “Deer are supposed to eat grass and shrubs in their natural habitat.”

      Deer populations are supposed to be controlled by wolves and cougars in their natural habitat too.

      “Most people don’t know that deer desire human companionship, and will actually come and sit near you if you are outside.”

      Deer don’t sit, and they don’t want companionship. They want a handout, because people have been feeding them. You talk about “natural habitat”, but this is anything but natural.

      “There are too many people in the world, but we don’t kill them off if it gets too crowded.”

      But we pass laws regulating their activity, and their impact on the environment. We can’t tell the deer not to overbrowse and destroy the forest.

      “Mother Nature decides how many deer should exist. Let nature take it’s course …”

      Mother Nature does that with predators. Humans are predators too. When we have caterpillar infestations killing trees, do you say “let nature take its course”? I’ll bet not.

  • charlie margate

    Hey What you said
    Northeast Pa was a nice place until you cockroack knuckle draggers decided to move to the country. Your right about one thing .W d not need any advise from liberal retards like you. You people thinkvyou could buy anything with your money not everyone in this area are a bunch of concrete big city whores like you and your kind. You out of state monkies should be in a locked gated community. As for the incessant ways you say Pa has. You morons better take a look in your closets. There’s alot more fruitcake s east of the Pa border.All we seem . To have is a deer problem according to you smog heads. We don’t see it your way. We are in their habitat. Your in ours.

    • Not_a_Recent_Immigrant

      Once again, I know that you don’t speak for all of the people who were born in the area. The vast majority of those people are gracious and are not prone to the use of stereotypes, witless sarcasm and crass comments.

  • Z.L.

    IT wouldn’t surprise me that they are killing the deer and hiding them – go down to the administration building and there is an old baseball field there, walk through the baseball field towards the woods going towards the administration building and you will find the dump area where maintenance and RSW has dumped old pipes, tires, and other junk into the woods many years ago.

  • Sherry Swoyer

    The hideout has already started killing the deer without the permits. There is a pit in the hideout by my house that have 8 deer in it with bullet holes in them. I have lived here all of my life. Over the past 3 yrs deer have disappeared from the hideout rapidly. i think they r popping them off without the permits and dumping them. then covering them with dirt to hide it from the residents. 8 dead deer could have fed a lot of families. if they dont have the permits yet, why r they already shooting? i would love to talk to someone!!!!

  • Baba Ganoush

    PA buries NJ’s trash (thanks to local politicians), we cut our forests to send power to NJ/NY, we absorb their lowlifes and the crime they bring, now they want rid the outdoors of wildlife. Show the carpet-bagging arrogant twats the road back to whence they came.

  • Busses be crazy

    How come people don’t get upset about killing mice or bugs? Don’t you think the mouse or bug wants to live too? Every person on here defending the deer had better not ever killed anything that was bothering them.

    • My Dog Is Smarter Than You

      How about we move New York City back to New York City? I hope Casabianca comes outside tomorrow and finds 1000 deer in his driveway. Let’s throw in a few NEPA black bears too.

  • Pam

    Are you kidding!!! Hideout residents… Go back to the city to live! You moved to a country environment… News flash… Wildlife live in the country and that includes deer!!! If the game commission allows a deer “kill off” I will be very upset! If you feel the same let your voice heard!!!😡

    • noneya

      You do know there’s actually a good amount of residents from the Hideout that are born and raised in PA and even that have lived in the Hideout their entire lives? It’s not all NYC/NJ. There’s also a lot of Florida, Texas, Connecticut, Ohio, and of course the lovely Russia transplants as well. I actually knew of a family from Mexico that had a vacation home in the Hideout.

  • jm

    If they want to control a deer population they should be forced to fence in the entire area of hideout. If they do that they could manage the deer inside of the fence however they choose.

    Just ask all the people that live and hunt around Hemlock farms how something like this affects them.

  • Bradford County Resident

    My heart goes out to the actual residents of our area…these high dollar people come in and buy anything they want…now they want to pay to eliminate wildlife….how fitting…..this story really struck a nerve

    • I'm a $ell out and loving it

      Pennsylvanians hate outsiders. Until they come and pay you twice the price for your property, then they don’t mind outsiders. I know, I sold mine to a lovely retired couple from Philly. But after they buy it, you want to tell them what to do on it, nonononoNO, that’s not how it works. Oh, and you also don’t mind the real estate taxes they pay on vacation homes, so your children can go to a state of the art, EVERGREEN SCHOOL. Half the homes in the Hideout don’t have children that use the schools, but they pay for them, no problem. I lived in Wayne County my entire life, bought a piece of property in Lackawanna County, and built a home on it for my family. They consider me an OUTSIDER, I’m from OVER THE MOUNTAIN. I just laugh it off,

    • CHARLIE MARGATE

      Noneya.
      That’s BS we made a living before you came here and we’ll do the same when your gone. Hopefully soon. Not everyone gives a crap about your money..

      • noneya

        I’m actually from mt cobb. Born and raised. I have friends from the Hideout who were also born and raised in there. Look at all the small businesses that are popping up in the area. All the local farms are also profiting more with more vacationers coming to the area.

  • Bradford County Resident

    What about not just killing the deer in the Hideout….why not get rid of the racoons, squirrels, skunks, and woodchucks….because I have heard they cause accidents, also been known to eat grass and shrubbery….. Get a f***ng life…this isn’t the city

  • CHARLIE MARGATE

    QDMA
    If you all move back to Manhattan there would not be a problem. They should keep you cockroaches in a gated community. You flatlanders think nature is concrete and blacktop. keep your big city ways in the big city. If you don’t appreciate nature why did you move here.

  • Franko

    They forgot to put in the story how the plan was approved without the membership voting on it and it’s the property owner’s money that will be paying for it. They are using $90,000 of the property owners money that is from property owners dues in order to do this – at the cost of about $300 per deer. This of course results in the future dues going up incredibly in order to pay off the bill and still be able to keep the place running. Of course they won’t really comment on it. And even if they did hold a vote on it, they only do voting for the people who actually make it to the area for a meeting, they don’t do absentee votes. And there is no way that all 3800 property owners would show up for a community meeting because of time constraints and that some of these people have this as a second home and live out of state. On another note – because there are no fences this affects the entire population of deer form the area. There is no way of determining which deer strictly live inside the Hideout and which ones do not. So there should be hearings involving the township as well. Also they talked about accidents, there aren’t that many accidents inside of their because of deer — the speed limit is only 25 ! There are more deer related accidents outside the Hideout than inside of it. Most of the crashes inside the community are from people from the city who do not know how to drive on winter roads are people that zip along above the speed limit in bad weather because they have an expensive AWD vehicle and they feel that their car can handle anything.

    • CHARLIE MARGATE

      Qdma
      Just like the white man managed the buffalo herd . Right. The deer did not need to be managed before man came here why do they have to be managed now. If hunting is your thing I’m fine with that but to kill for convienience sake!! Whats next controlling the geriatric people.

      • QDMA

        You didn’t pay attention in history class, did you? The buffalo herd was hunted to the verge of extinction due to market hunting, not poor management practices. The reason the buffalo herd came back is because of conservation and proper management. The same can be said about the PA turkey, bear, and elk population. Please do your research and don’t shoot from the hip or repeat lies you’ve been told.

      • My Dog Is Smarter Than You

        Actually, many Native American tribes did manage their geriatric population. And they didn’t do it by sticking them in a hellhole of a nursing home to be forgotten and rot for as long as they could milk Medicare, Medicaid, and the persons estate.

  • QDMA

    The deer population needs to be managed. Ask any area that has dealt with over-population (Valley Forge, Gettysburg, any number of other gated communities) and they will tell you the same thing. I like to see deer too, but their numbers need to be in check. The health of the overall herd is at risk with overpopulation.

    • john

      and what do you exactly think happens when there is a gated community built on and around a natural wildlife area in Pennsylvania? ” I don’t know why the deer population is flourishing, it wasn’t like this in Manhattan!”

      • QDMA

        So everyone in the community will all join together and tear out all their vegetation, kill off all their grass, and it will look like a desert in Arizona. Once there is no food or water they will move, but you have too many bleeding-hearts that will continue to provide feed for them, and the homeowners association will not allow hunting. So guess what, you’re stuck with them. In that sense, the deer are kind of like the gang-bangers and meth-heads in Hazleton. Give them shelter, food, and water, and they’re not going anywhere.

    • Tobor

      ! agree 100%. I use to own property in a development not far from the Hideout. Nothing grew from the forest floor up to 5-6″ off the ground. No wildflowers, no shrubs – unless you fenced them in- no forest regeneration, very few songbirds, the deer ate everything the moment it pushed out of the ground. They not only destroyed their own habitat but the habitat for other wildlife. Fencing is not an option – it is too expensive. You would need 8′ high fence minimum, pressure treated posts and the fence would have to be placed below the ground to keep the deer from crawling under. Ask the W/Barre – Scranton airport they have a fence and they can’t keep all the deer out! If you can not have a controlled hunt – hired sharpshooters are the other alternative. They are not eliminating the deer but getting the herd in balance with the existing habitat. Good Luck Hideout.

  • Movebackflatlanders

    These are same idiots who claim they don’t want them killed but yet forget Mother Nature has its own way of thinning the heard just leave the deer alone and by no means should the game commission allow these deer to be killed in a area where they are not fenced in that would be like me wanting to kill all the deer that cross my farm

  • john

    Hey tony…if you migrate back to NYC I’m sure that you won’t have to worry about deer population issues.

    • scott

      You must not be a very good hunter then! I wouldn’t want you loose with a firearm in my community. Here’s a suggestion for you, they have places you can pay to hunt at, and they stock game, try going to one of them, and leave the “real” hunting to “real” hunters!

      • Jake

        Some people work during the week and even saturdays… Cant always get days off and thanks to the Blue Laws cant hunt on Sundays… I was only able to get out two days myself this season and saw nothing either day.

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