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City Council Approves Deer Management Program

Archived News Release: August 25, 2015 -  

On August 17, 2015, City Council approved the establishment of a deer management program for the next four years, including 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 an experimental deer fertility control program with the Humane Society of the United States. View the August 17 City Council deer management discussion via CTN's video on demand.     

In an 8-1 vote, City Council approved a deer management program that aims to decrease the deer population in Ann Arbor in order to reduce deer-human negative interactions and support biological diversity in natural areas by not placing one species above another.

The approved program utilizes both lethal and nonlethal deer management methods and includes:

  • Obtaining a special Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) permit to hire a specially trained sharpshooter company to cull and remove up to 100 deer on City of Ann Arbor property only. Culls would be conducted during the winter of 2016 at night with silenced firearms on City of Ann Arbor property only, and public access would be restricted during cull operations.  

  • The MDNR special permit requires the deer to be processed and the venison donated to a local food bank. 

  • The deer cull will be performed by highly experienced sharpshooters who are specially trained to conduct a cull in an urban setting with precision, accuracy and safety as top priorities.   

  • Development of nonlethal deer management education materials including deer-resistant gardening techniques, "Don't Veer for Deer" tips for motorists and Lyme-disease prevention resources.    

  • Final approval is expected to come on September 8 of a City of Ann Arbor ordinance that bans the feeding of deer, making it a civil infraction. This ordinance is not intended to ban the use of bird feeders, but rather to ban the feeding of deer on private property. The proposed ordinance states, "No person may place or permit to be placed on the ground, or less than five feet above the ground surface, any grain, fodder, salt licks, fruit, vegetables, nuts, hay or other edible materials (including feed for birds) which may reasonably be expected to result in deer feeding, unless such items are screened or protected in a manner that prevents deer from feeding on them. Living fruit trees and other live vegetation shall not be considered as deer feeding."

  • Continued exploration of a deer fertility control program via the Humane Society of the United States. The exploration of such a program is expected to take up to a year or longer. 

The City of Ann Arbor wants to note specifically that the Deer Management Program:

  • Will not include culling more than 100 deer during the winter of 2016.  

  • Will not include culling deer on private property.

  • Will not include allowing the discharge of firearms by hunters, residents or visitors at any time within city limits. 

  • Will not include banning the use of birdfeeders on private property via the deer feeding ban ordinance.  
Next steps

During the next month, City staff will develop and issue request for proposals from experienced, specially trained in urban settings deer cull sharpshooters. The selected company's qualifications will be reviewed by the MDNR prior to a permit being approved and issued.

Specific cull program details, including location, public notifications and specific safety measures taken, will be developed in coordination with the selected sharpshooting contractor. The selected contract will require City Council approval prior to any cull being performed. For more details about the Deer Management Program visit     

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Media Contact Information

Sumedh Bahl
Community Services Area Administrator
734.794.6000 ext. 43902
[email protected]

Ann Arbor has 123,851 residents, spans 28.97 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, and follow the city on Twitter and Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.