READING, Pa. — White-tailed deer will soon be the target of a planned hunt in parts of Berks County.
During Monday night's meeting of the city council, city arborist Lester Kissinger Jr. said the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be conducting a controlled, nonpublic hunt for the deer in the mountain areas around Antietam Lake Park in Lower Alsace Township. It will take place Sept. 18 until Jan. 29 on county-owned property.
Kissinger reported a USDA study found the deer population is out of balance and is negatively affecting the county's parkland.
The deer will not be hunted on any city property on the mountain during the scheduled hunt, Kissinger said, but Reading could come to an agreement with the USDA to participate in the program within a year.
Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz said she does believe the city has a need to control the deer population.
"Deer on the mountain are eating trees in infancy stages, and our tree stock is disappearing on the mountain," she said. "We need a good management program, as the deer have no natural predators."
Kissinger said he plans to have a discussion with the Moran administration about the issue.
The white-tailed deer was named Pennsylvania's state animal in 1959. According to the state's website, "Native Americans and settlers alike relied on the white-tailed deer for food and clothing."