Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The deer cull in the Crum Woods will not take place this winter, due in part to a proposed change in Pennsylvania Game Commission regulations about what entities can apply for a controlled hunt.
The borough of Swarthmore and the adjoining township of Nether Providence applied on the College’s behalf for the controlled hunt in November, but in the intervening time, a rule change has been proposed that would allow landowners to apply for a controlled hunt on their own behalf, instead of requiring all applications to be sponsored by a municipality. Director of Grounds Jeff Jabco described the change as “agreed upon but not enacted yet,” and explained that the delay in application approval was due largely to that change.
Jabco speculated that “now that the deer population, especially in suburbia, has increased… they need to work with large local landowners… a home owner’s association or a condo association could also apply.”
At this point, the cull “won’t happen before next winter. It’s too difficult to do it by late March once the plants start growing… it’s more difficult to actually see the deer [and] for safety purposes we want to have everything clear so that it’s a clear shot.” Furthermore, “the deer’s habits change as far as eating, so getting deer into one location is also difficult.”
Is there anything the college can do to stave off another year of deer overpopulation in the Crum? “We can’t really fence off everything,” said Jabco. “That would just make the problem more severe for all of our neighbors, so there really aren’t any options.”
The Pennsylvania Game Commission “has suggested some changes to our proposal,” continued Jabco, namely having a controlled hunt open to the public, “but we believe the most effective way would be a cull with professional sharpshooters.” Asked about why the Game Commission might have suggested the change, Jabco said “I don’t know that there would be advantages… [but] their business is hunters, and they want to get them involved when they can.”
Right now, Jabco says that the delay will give the college a chance to strengthen parts of their proposal. “I’m meeting with some folks from the Game Commission soon… I would like to walk the area with them, it makes them more familiar with what we’re having to deal with.”