close
Car park management

Ballot advisory question asks about potential deer cull – The Oakland Press

Southfield voters will have a chance in the Nov. 8 election to tell elected officials what they think of a potential plan to cull the town’s deer population.

Experts say the deer herd in Southfield and nearby towns is too large, creating problems with deer accidents, destruction of plant life and the possibility of ticks on animals carrying deer’s disease. Lymes.

An advisory question on the ballot will ask voters:

“Do you support the reduction of the deer herd in the town of Southfield through humane and lethal means with the aim of engaging local partners and ensuring that meat donation, deemed safe and where possible, is done local food banks and similar organizations? ”

City spokesman Michael Manion said that while voters approve of the advisory question, it’s uncertain whether Southfield will go ahead with a cull.

This would require approval from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. There would be a cost that would come from the city’s general fund. It could take several years to plan a cull, Manion said.

There are a lot of unknowns, like what percentage of the deer population would be culled or what part of town the culling would take place.

“There are strong feelings on both sides of the issue,” Manion said. “We are taking the temperature of the community with this election issue.”

A recent survey put the town’s deer population at around 450, but this included a portion of Bloomfield Township between 13 Mile and 14 Mile Roads, just outside Southfield’s northern boundary. City officials say the deer population has increased in recent years.

At a public meeting on the issue last month, officials said no action had a cost.

The city spends about $25,000 a year in staff time and disposal fees to remove dead deer from roads and city properties, said David Sheaffer, chairman of the city’s wildlife advisory board. Most of the dead animals were hit by vehicles, he said.

The city recorded 67 car-deer crashes in 2021, but that’s likely an undercount, Sheaffer said.

Chad Stewart, an MNR deer management specialist, said deer in urban areas tend to thrive and reproduce exponentially.

He said there are several methods to reduce the deer population and all have advantages and disadvantages.

A cull using paid snipers can be expensive and controversial, but it’s a fairly effective population control technique, he said.

Ann Arbor used snipers in the annual culls from 2016 to 2020, drawing large protesters.

Killings usually take place in a defined area, such as a park, and the public is warned and kept away.

Deer overpopulation is a problem in much of the Seven Counties region represented by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

SEMCOG has launched a survey to ask residents about their encounters with deer and what to do about the animals.

The survey is available at https://www.cobaltcommunityresearch.org/deer.html until November 11

Southfield is one of nine communities in Oakland County that have formed a coalition in hopes of finding a regional solution.

Oakland had more car-deer crashes than any other county in Michigan last year, recording 1,853 incidents, according to the Office of Highway Safety Planning.

John Smith

The author John Smith