Residents interested in this issue might like to
contact us to be connected with others of the same
Deer Hunting in Abington Township
CHRONOLOGY (with newest first )
Affairs meeting -Hunts are approved again for Karebrook for Sept
19 to Jan 23 and for Alverthorpe 1 day
Commissioner Schreiber for opposing it . The hunts
are the result, again of a request by
"Abington Deer Management" which has done this for many
From the minutes
" Most of the deer are hit in the Meadowbrook Road
area and the surrounding streets and the only place to intercept
them is in Karebrook.
" Ok that would not be the case
- because ADM is also taking them from private properties
nearby .his past season, ADM did
not remove any deer from there, but we know they are there
because they are filmed by cameras. All rules and regulations of
the Game Commission are followed by ADM (noted added : who
is checking on that ? ) and ADM does not charge the Township and
they are insured. Commissioner Schreiber questioned whether
there was a vote taken earlier this year on deer hunting. Mr.
Wendell replied no, but there was discussion about whether or
not the amount of deer would decrease as a result of hunting,
but we cannot correlate that this year as there were no deer
removed. However, if there is no hunting the numbers will
From the ninutes : "t
Commissioner Farren asked for the size of the herds. Mr.
Wendell replied he has seen 10 or 12 different deer on the
cameras in Karebrook. The President of Abington Deer
Management Louis Clewell added that in addition to Karebrook we
have quite a few properties in Meadowbrook and
Huntingdon Valley in which we have done very well this year,
which is why there weren't too many in Karebrook this year.
Also, this year there were trespassers in
Karebrook, who cut straps on our stands hampering our efforts,
but we have done very well on adjacent properties.
It was asked about moving the deer instead of killing them.Mr.
Wendell replied travel transfer has not been successful and the
Game Commission can provide more information about it.
Also birth control has been tried, but that is not a
successful method either.
Controlled Hunt in
Alverthorpe Park will be a one-day controlled hunt Mr.
Wendell replied hunting has not been done in Alverthorpe for
about seven or eight years. There were a number of hunts
from 1997 until 2007 and they were successful for removing deer
from the park. There are a number of properties that surround
the park that deer come from and we had calls from neighbors
about issues with deer in their yards. Abington Deer Management can help to remove them.
It is a
one-day hunt that runs before dawn until about
p.m. The park is
closed with fencing around it and we have assistance by the Police Department. He is also on the grounds
as well making sure everything is being done properly.
Notices will be sent out about the date of when this will take
place and the park will be closed on that date with signage
about the hunt.
will be strictly bow hunting. Mr. Wendell replied yes, shooting
bows down towards the ground from tree stands
noted Abington Deer Management has never had any accidents.
(my added note - no one ever has any accidents- until
the first time that they have one . That's why it's called an
7-1-13 The Hunts are approved again
- despite more humane ways to manage the deer and the fact
are not happy having hunters operate in such close proximity to
our homes --- and in places where our children may go to play.
There is almost no noticeable warning - it is too small to read
from a moving car and children can enter Karebrook from
6-24-08 The Deer Hunt issue will be on the agenda for July
2, 2008 Public Affairs for approval - It is only being
proposed to be at Karebrook this year - a controlled hunt
for the entire season like last year - and not at either
Alverthorpe or the Boy Scout Nature Study Area /
Meadowbrook Preserve .
Times Chronicle Article Discusses the alternatives & concludes
hunting is best means of deer control.
Sept 20, 2007
The hunts were approved at the Boy Scout Preserve for 10 days in
November and for the entire hunting season at Karebrook.
Sept 5th, 2007
Public Affairs meeting 7:30 Township Building A motion
passed to allow the deer hunting for 10 days in November at the
Nature Preserve and for the entire season at
Karebrook. It is our belief that
misrepresentations were made at the meeting that led to
- about the number of residents in favor
(more residents weighed in against the hunt
than for the hunt)
Lyme disease statistics (" the deer tick" carries lyme, but the
most common host is the white footed field mouse-
and research shows evidence that culling the herd in these
situations could actually increase Lyme disease
as other hosts are sought by the ticks )
-about traffic statistics
actually increased after the last "culling" of the herd)
- about the effectiveness of the hunt vs the danger (
if just one or two deer were "culled - while risking a child who
through unaware of the "posted: keep out" signs ) There
are huge safety issues given the proximity of
the residential areas.
It boggles the mind to watch the
process get approved anyway.
July 31st, 2007
7:30 pm Meeting at Abington Township Building about the Boy
Scout Nature Study area and Karebrook. The meeting date
was not changed despite conflict with Baederwood Development
meeting, so a number of interested residents attended
that meeting instead. We'll give you an update as soon as
we can on this evening's meeting.
Regarding the planned
Deer Hunt at the Meadowbrook Boy Scout Preserve & Karebrook
(Meadowbrook Road & Valley Road)
TO: The Abington Board of Commissioners
DATE: July 31st, 2007
We, residents of Abington Township, ask that you reject the
proposed 2007-2008 open deer hunts planned for the areas of the
Meadowbrook Boy Scout Preserve and Karebrook for the following
The areas in
question now have more than two-dozen school-age and younger
children living on the properties surrounding the two proposed
hunt areas, representing a significant change in the
neighborhood demographic since hunts were approved in past
The location of the
hunt at the Boy Scout Preserve is immediately across the street
from a school bus stop that is occupied by elementary school-age
children during the months and times of the hunts.
Children do explore
the woods and creeks in this vicinity and the proposed hunts
would put them in jeopardy.
IF YOU AGREE, TYPE "ADD MY NAME "
IN THE TITLE BOX OF AN EMAIL AND PUT YOUR NAME & ADDRESS
IN THE TEXT .
THESE WILL BE SHARED WITH
YOUR BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS . EMAIL
IT TO email@example.com
END OF PETITION
Here is some information some of the neighbors learned from
their inquiries. We hope all has been understood and
presented here correctly
so that you may see the many aspects of this issue. If you know
of any changes or corrections that apply, please
contact us to
let us know. As always we wnat to be careful not to spread any
1) WHERE WILL THE HUNT OCCUR?
One area is the "Boy Scout Nature Study Area Game Preserve",
at the corner of Meadowbrook Road and Valley Road. The
other area, “Karebrook”, is believed to be the area next to
the Meadowbrook train station, just past the four houses
situated on the northbound side of Valley Road. The
Pennsylvania Game Commission website clearly indicates that
there are no approved state game lands in our specific
Wildlife Management Unit in Abington.
HOW WILL THE HUNT
Hunters will be permitted to use bows to hunt the deer.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters must
provide a safety zone of 50 yards minimum and must be
stationed in trees shooting downward, not on the ground. The
zone of only 50 yards puts both motorists and residents on
Valley Road, Stockton Road, Mill Road, and Meadowbrook Road
all at risk. Additionally, the Township must obtain a
municipal deer control permit from the Pennsylvania Game
Commission in order to sanction hunting as a means for deer
3) WHO IS APPROVED TO HUNT?
The Abington Board of Commissioners approved only the members
of the Abington Deer Management Association to hunt in the
proposed areas. They were recommended due to their experience
with archery hunting. Most of the members of ADMA are
Abington residents and they carry liability insurance in the
amount of an aggregate of $2,000,000. However, residents are
concerned that there has been no notification or method they
know of to prevent non-members of the ADMA to enter the
Preserve to hunt in the proposed areas.
WHEN WILL THE HUNT OCCUR?
Based on a discussion with Township officials at the July 2nd
meeting, we believe the hunt will occur during the deer season
beginning September 15, 2007 and ending January 26,
2008. It may be 15 days during that period or it may be mewer
or more. We are not yet certain.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website, the
proposed hunt dates do not correlate with the upcoming
deer bow-hunting season in the State of Pennsylvania, which
limits the days of the hunt and restricts the “bag limit” for
each license to one deer per year.
HOW ARE NEIGHBORS NOTIFIED ABOUT THE PLANNED HUNT?
According to the Township, the neighbors who live immediately
next to the affected area are notified by a letter written by
the Director of Parks and Recreation. These letters are
usually delivered by hand but are sometimes mailed. The
letter contains the dates as approved by the Board of
Commissioners. Hunters will be in the woods in the morning
from 5 AM to 8 or 9 AM. They also hunt in the afternoon,
usually from about 3 PM to just before dark.
According to neighbors polled in the immediate vicinity of the
Preserve, no one recalls ever receiving any such letters from
the Township warning them of approved hunting in our
neighborhood during the last few years.
WHY WOULD THE TOWNSHIP CONSIDER ALLOWING HUNTING IN A
SUBURBAN, FAMILY-ORIENTED NEIGHBORHOOD?
The reasons put forth as rationales behind the hunt by the
Abington Township Board of Commissioners are: the mitigation
of the risk of Lyme Disease, the reduction of the number of
traffic accidents involving deer on Valley Road, and general
deer herd management.
Disease—According to Abington Memorial Hospital, there has
been no significant change in our Township for Lyme Disease
cases. In fact, health care professionals have found educating
the general public is the best defense against Lyme Disease.
Eradication of deer will not prevent Lyme Disease as deer are
not the only carriers. Unless the Township plans next to hunt
squirrels, chipmunks, and other mammals, a controlled hunt of
deer will have no effect on the prevalence of Lyme Disease.
Accidents—According to one report obtained from the Abington
Police Department, there have been no deer-related
accidents in the specified area on Valley Road in the last
two years. According to another report, the accident rate
township wide has been reduced by half since deer-hunting
began four years ago. However, when this latter report is
reviewed in the context of the last two decades, the
occurrence of deer-related accidents is relatively small in
this area compared to the Township as a whole. Additionally,
there are other factors such as two neighbors in the
vicinity of the Preserve that engage in private hunting on
their own property to reduce the deer population. The
Township has not determined if the reduction of deer
accidents—which again is minimal—has been due to these private
efforts and other factors or to the ADMA hunts.
Management—The deer in this neighborhood are an itinerant
population. That is, the deer tend to move frequently and
broadly around the Meadowbrook area due to the abundance of
wooded lands available. Thus, holding a hunt, regardless of
length, in one small location will not reduce or control the
herd population as deer will migrate to other locations
nearby. The Township has also admitted it does not know the
actual size of the deer herd, so it cannot measure the
effectiveness of its eradication measures except through
accident statistics, which have proven to be minimal. The
Pennsylvania Game Commission clearly outlines steps to be
taken to inform and involve residents to determine the
appropriate measure to be taken for deer herd management.
IS BOW-HUNTING PERMITTED IN OTHER PARKS IN OUR AREA?
No. Horsham and Upper Moreland, for example, have significant
open space and park land. Neither permits hunting. The
Montgomery County Park System does not permit hunting in any
of its parks. Nearby Fort Washington State Park does not
Recently, the Township Commissioners voted to permit a 1-day,
controlled hunt in Alvethorpe Park for deer herd management.
However, Alvethorpe is a fenced-in park and this hunt will be
controlled by the Township and limited to a single day. On
the other hand, the proposed hunt in our neighborhood is:
not a controlled environment or
not confined to a secured, fenced-in
not limited to a single day, week,
month, or even a single season
across from a bus stop for elementary school children
to occur during hours when children will be in the immediate
vicinity or waiting for the school bus
occur in the midst of a private, family-oriented neighborhood
WHAT IS THE INTENDED USE OF THE LAND AT THE BOY SCOUT NATURE
STUDY AREA AND GAME PRESERVE?
We believe that
area in question is not really
a “Boy Scout
Nature Study Area". The nearly 14-acre lot was officially
called the "Meadowbrook Nature Preserve", originally intended
as a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. It was gifted to
Abington Township in 1947 by Alice Herkness, wife of J. Liddon
Pennock of Meadowbrook Farms. The deed provisions explicitly
state that the land, under the custody of Abington Township,
is to be used “as a refuge or sanctuary, for the protection
and conservation of the birds and other forms of wildlife
native to Pennsylvania.” According to the deed, if the
Township violates the provisions in the deed, the land will
revert back to the next-of-kin of the Pennock family.
HERE ARE ANSWERS AS RECEIVED FROM THE HEAD OF ABINGTON PARKS
AND RECREATION :
The issue of removing deer from both Karebrook Nature Study
Area and the Boy Scout Nature Area has been discussed at
public meetings for both of the two years the Board has
granted permission to hunt there. These are public meetings.
1) Can we get this info on the township website so all who
are concerned have a place to go to get the facts ?
1- The Manager's office controls the information that is
placed on the website, you should contact them.
2 ) When will the hunts be held ? Throughout hunting season
? Oct to May ? 15 days or more? When are how are hunters notified of the days
2- The Bureau's request is to permit hunting during the entire
deer hunting season. This begins September 15th and ends
January 26th, 2008. Abington Deer Management is notified only after the Board has
approved the plan.
3) When and how are neighbors notified of the specific days
& times of the hunt ? Is there an email list one can sign up
for. Will there be a mailing with specific dates. Assume
newsletter, newspapers, and Channel 43 will be used - but they
traditionally reach but a small % of residents.
3- The neighbors who live immediately next to the affected
area are notified by a letter written by the Director of Parks
and Recreation. These letters are usually hand delivered but
are sometimes mailed. The letter contains the dates as
approved by the Board. Hunters are usually in the woods from 5
AM and leave usually by 8 or 9 AM. They do hunt in the
afternoon, usually from about 3 PM to just before dark.
4) What are the objectives? To thin the heard ? How many
are in the herd. How many are we thinning it to and what good
will this do ( do we have evidence thinning the herd will
reduce any of the problems ? ) Lyme ? Traffic accidents?
Nuisance on personal property?
4- The purpose of the hunt is to reduce the size of the herd
which will in turn help to reduce the incidence of
deer/vehicle accidents. We do not know the size of the herd
but we do have statistics regarding deer/vehicle accidents. As
evidenced by the reduction in deer/vehicle accidents in the
Alverthorpe area, the hunts appear to have helped reduce these
5 ) How expensive are the alternative methods and what are
the REAL costs of holding the hunt.
5- The expense of the alternatives is very subjective. What is
too high for one person may not be a concern for another.
cost to hire the USDA to bring in sharpshooters can be more
than $150 per deer.
---Repellents need to be applied on a regular
basis and over a large area and can be expensive in both
materials and the manpower to apply these chemicals.
Additionally, studies ( Swihart et al 1991, Conover 1987, &
Conover $ Kania 1988) have found that effectiveness depends on
availability of alternative forage. In like manner, purchasing
plants that deer do not favor may be effective as long as
there are other sources of forage. It has been clearly
established that deer will eat almost any forage if they are
hungry enough. In any case, repellents need to be applied
regularly, which involves manpower and over large areas of
open space, is impractical.
---The use of fertility control
chemicals has not been approved and, as the US Department of
Agriculture has stated, "contraception alone can not reduce
overabundant deer populations to healthy levels" (APHIS
Wildlife Services, May 2008).
For the proposed hunts in Karebrook and the Boy Scout area
it (cost) is minimal. In the past two years, there has been no police
involvement and the signs, for the most part, were placed by
members of Abington Deer Management. The cost of producing the signs is less that
$25 and for the signs that I placed, only took me about 20
minutes to tack them to the trees.
(comment: Add to that the cost of letters and hand delivering
and/or mailing them )
6 ) What is a controlled hunt ? . As far as we know they
post signs - What else is done to control it? Where is the
entrance and egress ? Can we assume Pa State Game Commission
rules and regulations are known & followed ? Are there other
6- A controlled hunt is one where parameters are set and the
hunt is conducted within those parameters. The parameters vary
depending on the layout of the area, the number of hunters
needed, if the area is fenced or not, and whether rifles, shotguns,
or archery is to be used. This is just a short list. I am sure
the Pennsylvania Game Commission could fill you in more
(comment: Am not sure if,as parameters, he means only physical
7 ) Who are the hunters - Are they Abington Township
residents ? If I get a hunting license, can I shoot there too?
What training do they have - what insurance do they carry? How
many of them are allowed in on any given day. If more show up,
how will the allowed number be enforced?
7- The hunters approved by the Board, is the Abington Deer
Management Association. There were recommended in 1997 due to
their experience with archery hunting. As far as I know, most
of the members of ADM are residents. Only members of ADM may
hunt in the areas approved by the Board. The carry liability
insurance in the amount of an aggregate of $2,000,000. The
form is on file in this office. The number of hunters in the
woods at any one time is controlled by the president or one of
the other officers of the ADM.
8 ) What is the car accident rate in the area. One resident
believes there have been no deer related accidents in that
area in recent years? If we understood correctly, it was
reported in a meeting that the township deer accident rate was
cut in half in the years since the hunts started. Is that so ?
And are these accidents in the area of this preserve?
8- For this information, you need to contact the police
9 ) Someone thought there was a regulation/ordinance/rule
that prohibited hunting in Abington Township. Can we be made
aware of all the laws/regulations that apply in addition to
the language of the deed. If we violate the language of the
deed are we not risking reverting the property back to another
owner that may choose to exercise his option to have that
property, where J Liddon Pennock did not ....?
9- I do not believe there is an ordinance in Abington Township
that prohibits hunting. I have not seen the original deed for
the Boy Scout Nature area. I think that if you consider the
public safety factor with the deer/vehicle accidents, removing
deer from the Boy Scout Nature area should not affect the
Township's ownership of the property in question. However, I
am not a lawyer, so that is personal opinion.
10 ) was already answered.
1 1 ) Have our local environmentalists been consulted -
Briar Bush etc. ?
11- Prior to 1997 the Bureau engaged the services of wildlife
biologist Bryon Shissler. He is well known in the State and
has worked with the PA Game Commission on many occasions. He
determined that their was an overabundance of deer in this
area and recommended multi day hunts. Briar Bush has been
consulted. I have personally attended many deer management
workshops that were sponsored by the National Audubon Society,
Schuylkill Valley Nature Center, and the PA Land Trust
Society, all of which have recommended lethal removal of deer
as method of controlling overabundant deer.
12 OBJECTIONS that have been voiced to the hunt
Neighbors and other interested residents are not notified of
when vote is on the agenda or dates of hunts so that they
may take extra precautions ( ie if they have children of "free
roaming" age" ).
Neighbors have been notifed via letters either hand delivered
( comment: this year only our own efforts brought the letters
when the vote was at hand)
13 Signs are posted but - never taken down . As of end of July
07 signs from last season's hunt are reported to be still up .
Untrue! I personally removed the signs both years the hunt has
taken place. If you see a sign that was not removed, please
let me know and I will take it down immediately.
( True - as noted above. One must have been missed last
13 Do the shooters have their insurance on file at the
township ( required by township .......? )
Yes. As answered in #7 above.
14 Whom does it attract ? Locals or people from elsewhere ?
I am unsure of the point of the question. Only ADM hunters are
used, so there is no reason for anyone to be attracted to the
(Comment: hunters seeing others hunting or learning of a hunt
are quite likely to be attracted - and might not necessarily
register or stop to learn the dates of the hunt, as we know
that hunting laws are often disobeyed.)
15 Will people seeing hunts there be encouraged to come back
when there is not a controlled hunt going on?
Which people are you speaking of? The neighbors? Both of
these areas are overgrown or very swampy. I have never noticed
anyone using these areas for recreation. I have spoken to the
Boy Scout groups in the area and all of them said that they do
not have any activities in these areas.
( Comment : This writer, her two children and her dog have all
used that area for recreation/exploration, as have many of the
neighbors we have spoken to. Young children are inherently
attracted to such spots for "fort building ", following a deer
they saw, or other play activities once they are old enough to
leave their parents contant supervision. The sign "Boy Scout
Study Area invites exploration and suggests that there are
interesting things to be studied)
16 Density of the area makes deer hunting an undesirable
activity ( there is a reason that there is a term "hunting
accident" ) The safety of children and parents with children(who
have not even been notified of the hunt in the past) is an
The neighbors here did not buy a house in the State Gamelands
and would not suspect such activity
Density in the area does not preclude hunting. As a matter of
fact, many private property owners permit hunting on the
properties surrounding this area.
( Comment, that does not speak to the safety issues)
17 This is contrary to the deed of the land and the intent of
the gift giver. Their wishes should be respected.
- the land was given to establish a sanctuary for birds and
It is possible language directly exists in the deed that
addresses the issue of hunting & if so we may jeopardize
our ownership of the land. Could the land then revert to a
decendant of the giver who would prefer to develop it?
As I responded in question #9, I do not believe the hunt will
jeopardize the Township's ownership of the property. I am not
a lawyer, so this is a personal opinion.
(Comment : it was established as a wildlife sanctuary,
to protect wildlife. This is quite contractdictory to
that purpose. In spirit, it would be hard to imagine how this
does not violate the trust.)
Lyme disease is not carried just by deer - by squirrels and
other small animals
- education & awareness is the best prevention - not trying to
kill all the animals that might carry it
Very true. Education alone however, is unlikely to be as
effective as education and removal of one of the vectors that
is responsible for distribution of the disease. There are also
products called "four posters" that can help. They require
regular maintenance and are fairly expensive to purchase. When
you consider the number that would have to be purchased and
maintained, cost could become a factor in their use.
( Comment Simple mouse traps would remove one vector & are not
at all expensive to use or maintain and could remove a source
that can even come right into your house without the use of
poisons, arrows or other dangers)
19 Bow hunting is not a humane way to thin a herd. If you
needed to put your pet down you would never in a
million years think of letting your pet loose in the preserve
& having people shoot at it ( though it
would surely be cheaper than the bill from the vet)
Bow hunting is more humane than being struck by an automobile,
starvation, freezing to death, and/or dying from diseases that
are a result of over population. Since pets do not live in
this type of environment, your pet analogy is completely out
( Comment: I disagree : pets also get hit by
automobiles, die from diseases and are sometimes lost or
left out to freeze - I still would not choose to shoot
any animal with an arrow if a more humane methods exist.)
20 When deer are a nuisance on your property, neighbors can
learn to plant shrubs and plants that are not likely
to attract them - reducing their problem greatly
I answered this point in question #5. Even if the neighbors
were to establish plants that deer tend not to eat, the deer
would then be forced to forage further afield thus creating
the possibility of more deer/vehicle accidents. Eventually,
deer would begin to feed on less favorable forage which would
then bring them full circle where they are eating plant
material they previously eschewed.
(Comment : We thank Mr. Wendell for taking the time to
answer the questions . )
July 2nd, 2007
Public Affairs -
Residents were in attendance to oppoise the hunt at the
Valley Rd & Karebrook location - The hunt discussion
was put off until a separate meeting with residents could be had
- Possibly the issue will then be ready to bring to the Sept
Public Affairs Meeting. If we understand it correctly,
there will be various hunts throughout deer hunt season (
possibly as many as 15 ) at this location.
Alverthorpe deer hunt approved for a date in October at this meeting.
One day hunt.
June 7, 2007 At the June 6th Public Affairs
Meeting, the Valley Rd hunt discussion was put off ( possibly til the next month we'll try to let you know when we find
out - call your Commissioner to be notified directly )
The main reason that a hunt was chosen as the preferred method
was financial, if I understood correctly. The cost of
removing deer with other methods could run as much as $200 per
June 6, 2004 7:30 pm
Controlled Hunt in Alverthorpe Park
approve two weekday dates (one to be used as an alternate in
case of inclement weather) for a one day, controlled deer hunt
place in Alverthorpe Park during the Fall 2007 season.
Controlled Deer Hunt on Township Property Along
Valley Road between Washington Lane and Mill Road
Motion to approve controlled hunting on Township
properties on Valley
Road between Washington Lane and Mill Road (Boy Scout Nature
Area and Karebrook) for the complete 2007 -2008 hunting season.
Some related informational sites about animal
rights or alternatives to a hunt....
Please remember, on the Abington
Citizens Network all views will be presented, whether pro or con
to help us all understand the issue in the fullest.
www.RPAforAll.org - an Abington resident maintains this site
Questions that need answers .....
Some suggested that Bowhunting is allowed on
some private property (such as near the Wissahickon
Watershed ) but not baiting. Is baiting allowed or not and
will it be used here?
Someone suggested the fertility control vaccine,
PZP or Porcine Zona Pelucida is a protein not a chemical and
cannot pass through the food chain. They thought it may have
been authorized by the FDA but soon, if not already, will
be regulated by the EPA.
Someone suggests that Bryon P.
Shissler, the wildlife biologist, is President of Natural
Resource Consultants, Inc. and Director of The Ecosystem
Management Project at State College and that he was once on the
governor's sportsmen's advisory council. The only method he
suggests is lethal and they believe his final deer report
on deer in the Wissahickon has been highly criticized by various
Please feel free to
send your information to us and please be sure to tell us
about any information you believe to be incorrect -