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 Crum Woods of Swarthmore College have long shown the effects of deer overpopulation. In 2003, a Conservation and Stewardship Plan for the Crum Woods was completed by Natural Lands Trust and Continental Conservation. That report concluded that an overabundance of deer headed the list of factors threatening the woods. Following the delivery of that report, the College’s Crum Woods Stewardship Committee engaged in research and extensive consultation with the local and college communities to consider options for managing the deer population and restoring the ecosystem of the Crum Woods.
The result of that deliberate review process is the conclusion that the most humane, forest-science-based, and socially responsible way to manage the deer population on the College’s campus is to cull the herd. As such, the College has applied to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for a permit to conduct a cull on the College’s land. If granted, the permit will allow for a cull to be conducted by trained personnel at pre-approved sites and would most likely occur over the College’s Winter Break.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission requires that a public hunt be conducted in conjunction with any cull. Acting in accordance with this state regulation, the College will grant archery hunting rights to a select group of hunters, specifying when and where they may hunt. They will be required to hunt from tree stands, away from trails, and at least 50 yards from inhabited buildings. The hunt will occur during the traditional archery season which runs from September through December.
The safety of the community is paramount and the College will proceed with great care, including the imposition of serious restrictions on both the hunt and the cull.
Information about the research that has been conducted in the woods regarding the deer population is available online at http://www.swarthmore.edu/deermgmt.xml. Frequently Asked Questions related to this decision are answered at http://www.swarthmore.edu/deerfaq.xml. Questions or concerns about this issue can be sent to email@example.com.
Jeff Jabco and Colin Purrington
Co-Chairs of the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee