Community Services

2018 Program

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2018 Deer Management Program Safely Completed 

On January 31, the City of Ann Arbor safely completed the 2018 deer management program, including culling and sterilization activities. Sterilization and culling activities were undertaken via an amended special research permit issued issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

2018 program activities included:  

  • Sterilization (non-lethal) — From Jan. 2-6, White Buffalo sterilized 18 female deer from three zones in Wards 1 and 2. All sterilized female deer were fitted with numbered ear tags, and one mature doe in each group was radio collared to facilitate future program efforts.
  • Lethal — From Jan. 8 to 31, White Buffalo sharpshooters lethally removed 115 deer from designated parks and nature areas, University of Michigan and Concordia properties and city-selected private parcels with owner consent. All culling operations were completed safely.

The city continues to invest in the collection of data to monitor the impacts of deer management efforts and to provide accurate information for public policy discussion on local deer management activities. During the next few months, the following data collection activities will be completed:

  • White Buffalo 2018 Program Results Assessment
  • Dr. Courteau's Browse Damage on Public Property Study
  • Deer Management Program Evaluation Citizen Survey by Michigan State University Research Center  

These data points will assist staff in completing a final deer management 2018 summary report including lessons learned and potential strategies for 2019. This report is estimated to be completed by July. All final reports and data collection information will be available via this webpage. 

2018 Program Details

On October 16, 2017, City Council approved a resolution to contract with White Buffalo, Inc. for combined surgical sterilization and sharpshooting management services for the City of Ann Arbor's 2018 deer management program.

The approved lethal cull for the winter of 2018 aimed to address the impact of deer browsing in select areas with the lethal removal of up to 250 deer. The city's contractor, White Buffalo, worked under a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) amended "research" permit that allowed the city to also sterilize female deer in up to three zones in Wards 1 and 2. In addition, the city continued educational efforts and signage as part of a three-pronged strategy to deer management.

The City continues to invest in the collection of data to monitor the impacts of each of these efforts and to provide accurate information for public policy discussion on local deer management activities.  

Measures of Success

Educational Program and Public Right-of-Way Improvements:

  • Review the city’s “Fencing” ordinance and existing deer signage locations. Recommend and implement changes and improvements.
  • Develop and publish an expanded deer education component to the city’s deer management website, including a deer-resistant gardening campaign.
  • Develop an interactive information/mapping tool.
  • Create and hold a public forum designed to address questions related to the city’s deer management program.
  • Establish an on-going education program.

Sterilization (Non-lethal) Program:

  • Obtain an amended permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) for a deer sterilization program.
  • Sterilization of at least 98% of the female deer in the original research areas 1 and 2.
  • Sterilize at least 95 percent of the female deer in a new third zone, such that the cumulative sterilizations for all three zones are not more than 80.
  • Mortality rate associated with sterilization less than 2 percent.
  • Investigate with University of Michigan if there are appropriate locations for sterilization.
  • Obtain a written update on the scientific results to-date on the sterilization efforts.

Lethal Program:

  • Number of firearm related injuries associated with cull activities is 0.
  • Remove 250 deer.
  • Level of public park closures is acceptable to at least 75 percent of surveyed residents.
  • Coordinate with University of Michigan to increase the number of available locations for the deer management program.

 Planning Documents