SharePoint

Community Services

Deer Management 2017 Program

Skip Navigation LinksHome » Departments » Community Services » Deer Management 2017 Program
 

Quick Links

Deer Cull Activities Completed Safely, Parks Reopened

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, the City of Ann Arbor announced the early completion of 2017 cull activities and the reopening of all designated parks and nature areas to normal operating hours.

From Jan. 30 to Feb. 6, White Buffalo sharpshooters lethally removed 96 deer from designated parks and nature areas and University of Michigan properties. A Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) special research permit allowed White Buffalo sharpshooters to remove up to 100 deer. City staff in consultation with White Buffalo decided to re-open the parks and conclude this year's program due to poor weather; and the effort to obtain four additional deer was outweighed by the benefit of re-opening the parks. There were zero safety incidences related to cull operations. In addition, 2,521 pounds of venison (just over 1 ton) was donated to a local food bank.

From Jan. 22 through Jan. 29, White Buffalo personnel surgically sterilized 54 does in designated neighborhoods in Wards 1 and 2. Although the MDNR permit allowed for up to 80 deer to be sterilized, White Buffalo staff believed the 90% population target was achieved at 54. All sterilized deer were fitted with numbered ear tags, and one mature doe in each group was radio-collared to facilitate future program efforts.  

The city performed a helicopter flyover during the lethal cull program.  The results of the flyover are still being studied and calibrated by White Buffalo to determine a population estimate.  The final result will be provided along with White Buffalo's assessment report to the city in the coming months.  

Another aspect of the city's deer management plan includes an educational and public rights-of-way improvements program development. City staff will be working with interested stakeholders to develop deer management educational materials, evaluate the city's fencing ordinance and recommend improvements to the city's rights-of-way signage.

Sterilization Update

On Friday, Feb. 3 at approximately 11 a.m., White Buffalo was informed by a resident that a tagged doe (#32) had been seen and appeared to be in poor shape and in distress. Dr. DeNicola from White Buffalo immediately responded to the area and located the deer. Upon examination, the sterilization incision appeared to be healed and was not infected and there were no signs of bleeding, discharge or trauma. However, because the animal was in distress, Dr. DeNicola decided that the humane course of action was to euthanize the deer by injection.

 

In coordination with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the doe was immediately transported to the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University for a necropsy, the findings of which were inconclusive with no specific cause determined.

MDNR Necropsy Record (PDF) 

________________________________________________________

2017 Deer Management Plan

In November, City Council approved the City of Ann Arbor’s 2017 deer management program, which has three primary components:
• Sterilization (non-lethal) Plan – pneumatically darting deer in two areas, temporarily removing and surgically sterilizing deer and returning deer to area where they were found.
• Lethal Plan - sharpshooting and lethally removing up to 100 deer on public lands and a small number of large city-selected large private parcels with appropriate consent.
• Educational Program and Public Rights-of-Way Improvements – providing educational materials to the community in late spring 2017 on how to live with deer, evaluating the city’s fencing ordinance, and recommending improvements that can be made in the city’s rights-of-way, such as signage.

Measures of Success  

The 2017 Deer Management Program was implemented as part of an initial four year effort. While each method (lethal and non-lethal) has measures of success, the overall program’s measures include:

  • Number of firearm related injuries associated with the deer management program: 0

  • Number of deer in Ann Arbor with chronic wasting disease: 0

  • Total number of deer/vehicle crashes and percent of vehicle crashes involving deer reported in the legal boundaries of the City of Ann Arbor does not increase. 

  • MDNR approval of a permit to the City for a non-lethal deer management program in 2017.

  • Establish a baseline for measuring the vegetative impact of deer in the City’s natural areas and establish ecological goal. 

  • Implement an education program that increases the community awareness of the role of deer in the local ecology and offers residents options to manage potential deer impacts on their private property.

  • Community acceptance of herd impact - when 75% of surveyed residents in a Ward respond that damage to their landscape or garden plants is at an acceptable level on private lands.  Recognizing there will be variability of this measure over time, a trend toward 75% is desired.  

  • Community acceptance of deer management program - when 75% of surveyed residents in a Ward respond that the City's strategy of managing the deer population is acceptable.  Recognizing there will be variability of this measure over time, a trend toward 75% is desired.

  • Investigate where deer signage is appropriate and implement where possible.

Timeline

Jan. 30 - Feb. 6, 2017 - Lethal activities completed with 96 deer removed from designated parks and nature areas.
Jan. 22-29, 2017 - Nonlethal activities completed with 54 does sterilized. 
Nov. 14, 2016 - A City Council Special Session was held for the purpose of holding public hearings on proposed ordinance amendments to Chapter 39 and Chapter 115 of the Ann Arbor City Code, which were approved as well the award of a contract for services to White Buffalo, Inc. and NatureWrite, LLC and the appropriation of funds to the total deer management program budget for fiscal year 2017.   

Oct. 24, 2016 - A Council Work Session was held: Deer Management: Planning for Winter 2016-2017. The meeting is available to watch via Video on Demand.  

Introduction - Data Plan and 2017 Plan Objectives - Tom Crawford, City of Ann Arbor  

Preliminary Monitoring Report - Dr. Jacqueline Courteau, Consulting Biologist/Ecologist, NatureWrite LLC 

Oct. 14, 2016 - Winter 2017 Deer Management Planning Efforts Memo 

Program Establishment

On August 17, 2015, City Council approved the Resolution to Establish a Deer Management Program within the City of Ann Arbor for four years, including lethal culls on City of Ann Arbor property beginning in the winter of 2016.

In addition, City Council directed city staff to continue to explore the viability of a deer fertility control program. The non-lethal resolution stated in part:     

RESOLVED, that the City will work with local stakeholders, MDNR, willing institutions of higher education, and/or the Humane Society of the United States to design and, if practical and cost-effective, implement a doe sterilization and/or contraceptive program in areas where a deer cull is impermissible, unsafe, or ineffective, beginning in winter FY2017.  

Overall 2017 Lethal & Non-Lethal (Sterilization) Program

The overall 2017 programs were implemented as part of an initial four year effort.  While each method (lethal and non-lethal) has measures of success, the overall program’s measures are below:

Measures of Success

  • Number of firearm related injuries associated with the deer management program: 0
  • Number of deer in Ann Arbor with chronic wasting disease: 0
  • Total number of deer/vehicle crashes and percent of vehicle crashes involving deer reported in the legal boundaries of the City of Ann Arbor does not increase. 
  • MDNR approval of a permit to the City for a non-lethal deer management program in 2017.
  • Establish a baseline for measuring the vegetative impact of deer in the City’s natural areas and establish ecological goal. 
  • Implement an education program that increases the community awareness of the role of deer in the local ecology and offers residents options to manage potential deer impacts on their private property.
  • Community acceptance of herd impact - when 75% of surveyed residents in a Ward respond that damage to their landscape or garden plants is at an acceptable level on private lands.  Recognizing there will be variability of this measure over time, a trend towards 75% is desired.  
  • Community acceptance of deer management program - when 75% of surveyed residents in a Ward respond that the City's strategy of managing the deer population is acceptable.  Recognizing there will be variability of this measure over time, a trend towards 75% is desired.
  • Investigate where deer signage is appropriate and implement where possible.

Nonlethal (Sterilization) Program

City staff engaged with some citizen groups supporting nonlethal, including members of FAAWN, Ann Arbor Citizens for nonlethal deer management, and Ann Arbor Citizens for Public Safety to explore management options that may be viable for Ann Arbor. In an effort to be open and transparent in this process, staff chronicled efforts, which are available below. If you are interested in participating in nonlethal discussions and efforts, please email deermanagement@a2gov.org.  

Measures of Success

  • MDNR approval of a permit to the City for a non-lethal deer management program in 2017.
  • Number of firearm related injuries associated with non-lethal activities: 0
  • Number of deer sterilized is between 40 and 60. (Goal obtained after discussion with vendor.)
  • Mortality rate associated with sterilization less than x%. (Rate based on discussion with vendor.)
  • Coordinate with University of Michigan to increase the number of available locations for the deer management program.

Stakeholder Meeting Summaries

City staff met with interested stakeholders and organizations in order to solicit feedback and shape community priorities in the development of the 2017 deer management program. In the interest of transparency, the below summaries are provided.      

Educational Program & Public Right-of-Way Improvements 

  • Review the city’s “Fencing” ordinance for areas that could be modified to assist residents with deer management efforts.
  • Develop an educational program for residents by March 15, 2017.
  • Publicize educational program by April 30, 2017.
  • Identify desired locations for deer signage in the right-of-way.

Lethal Program

The City of Ann Arbor conducted the first of a four-year cull during the winter of 2016 in designated City of Ann Arbor parks and nature areas. City staff engaged with citizens on the Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance.  Below is a summary of the activities completed.   

Measures of Success

  • Number of firearm related injuries associated with cull activities: 0
  • Number of deer removed: 100 (Goal established from conversation with proposed vendor.)
  • Acceptable level of park closures 
  • Coordinate with University of Michigan to increase the number of available locations for the deer management program.

Stakeholder Meeting Summaries

City staff met with interested stakeholders and organizations in order to solicit feedback and shape community priorities in the development of the 2017 deer management program. In the interest of transparency, the below summaries are provided.    

Program Documents

Resources

Deer Hotline: 734.794.6295
Email: DeerManagement@a2gov.org

Email notification sign up