Harry Funk/The Almanac

The owner of McMurray Nursery on Thompson Road is planning a deer cull to try to mitigate losses caused by the animals on his property.

The owner of a Peters Township business is planning a culling effort to try to mitigate losses caused by a certain animal.

“We’re getting crushed by deer,” Paul Hauber, who operates McMurray Nursery on Thompsonville Road, told township council Monday. “We always get crushed by deer, but this year is an extra battle.”

Council voted to waive its right to appeal Hauber’s implementation of what is allowed under a subchapter of state law titled “Destruction for Agricultural Protection.” Because the Pennsylvania Game Commission considers his property to be for agricultural use, he does not need a permit to carry out culling activities.

“I like deer,” Hauber said. “I like being outside. I like seeing the animals in my nursery. But when they start destroying everything …”

He gave an estimate of more than $100,000 in losses this year from the destruction of trees and other vegetation.

By law, participation in the cull is limited to the property owner and/or employees “regularly and continuously assisting in the cultivation of the land.” Hauber said he doesn’t hunt, but some of his employees have substantial experience in that regard.

The procedure, he told council, involves placement on a deer stand and using low-velocity rifles, which are relatively quiet, to shoot downward.

“This is something that would probably occur for 15 minutes every time that they did it,” he said, and most likely early in the morning. “We know exactly when the deer come through because I have them on camera.”

Applicable law also states “the entire carcass intact, less entrails, of each edible bird or animal killed under the provisions of this subchapter shall be held in a place of safekeeping pending final disposition.”

“I have to buy freezers for the deer,” Hauber said, noting the people who work for him would gladly take the venison.

Township manager Paul Lauer agreed state law applies in McMurray Nursery’s case, and he also discussed the municipality’s deer management efforts.

“We have hunting throughout the township on farms. We also, as council is aware, have a program aimed at deer management. In fact, one of the places that we hunt with bow is on the Elm Grove property,” he said about the municipal park adjacent to the nursery.

Hauber said he originally contacted the state Department of Agricultural to inquire about a fencing assistance program that ended up having been terminated several years ago.

“If I could afford $77,000 for a fence,” he told council, “I wouldn’t be here.”

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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