East Goshen Township has decided to thin its deer population and is bringing in groups of archers to carry out a hunt, starting in September.

Five bow-hunting groups met the Wednesday deadline to be considered for the deer hunts, township manager Rick Smith said in an interview.

This followed April 8 approval by East Goshen supervisors of a deer-control plan, including inviting archers, cost-free.

The hunts are to take place in seven periods, corresponding to statewide seasons set by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, between Sept. 20 and Jan. 24.

Smith said the killings, by archers on platforms in trees, would take place on four pieces of township-owned open space.

The pieces adjoin seven developments: Clocktower, Bow Tree, Mill Creek, Grand Oak, the Supplee Valley East and West developments, and Wentworth.

The five hunting applicants are Chester County Trackers, Deer Management Professionals of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Main Line Whitetail Managers, Sportsmen-Landowner Alliance and Tri-County Deer Management Association.

By June 2, East Goshen expects to announce which hunters have been approved.

James McRee, East Goshen's deer-management committee chairman, said in an interview that the need for the hunt and other anti-deer efforts could be gauged by roadkill.

In East Goshen alone, he said, "Sixty-nine [is] the number of deer picked up dead along the roadside, from July of 2007 through April of 2008."

McRee said there has been limited opposition to the hunt. At the April 8 supervisors' meeting, he said, "There were about a half-dozen people who commented, mostly people who had been to our meetings before and had commented against the program."

McRee said residents had not been surveyed about the deer-control program, but a few responded to an offer to comment, which ran in the township's April newsletter.

Among 15 e-mail responses, he said, "Two were opposed to hunting, about 10 were in favor of hunting" and three supported other parts of the program.

One of those is fighting deer-borne ticks associated with Lyme disease.

On the township Web site -

- a map shows 10 locations identified as "deer-bait stations," which went into operation at the end of March.

"Deer are drawn by a small amount of corn" to those stations where, McRee said, they stick their heads inside to feed and brush against anti-tick insecticide.

"We're also encouraging private landowners" to hunt on "their own land or bring in deer-management groups."

East Goshen is not asking the hunting groups to pay, McRee said, because "the township would incur liability."

On the night of March 25-26 last year, an airplane surveyor photographed 296 deer within the township and 142 on its borders. The survey cost the township $17,955.

In 1995, McRee said, a similar aerial survey had counted 157 deer in East Goshen.

"The goal of this program," according to the township's 18-page deer-management report, which was approved on April 8, "is to return the deer population size in the township to its 1995 level within 10 years" by killing 36 deer a year.

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 610-701-7614 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.