Deer Cull and Park Closures To Begin January 1st

Barton Nature Area, Site of Deer Cull, by Elatlboy

In the spring of 2014, displeased rumblings of Ann Arbor residents about the area’s deer population made their way to the City Council. At that time, the City Council wished to implement a plan to handle the basis of those complaints, that being deer that were doing damage to the area landscape as well as possibly spreading disease and causing motor vehicle accidents. Essentially what came to pass in 2015 was a deer management plan that would bring deer populations down to a more tolerable level while at the same time gaining the support of residents and providing a satisfactory outcome and solution to their deer related problems. And so the Resolution to Establish a Deer Management Program and upcoming deer cull were born.

Beginning on January 1st of 2016, the first of four deer culls will occur on City of Ann Arbor property. During these culls, deer numbers will be reduced by sharpshooters to the tune of approximately 100 deer each year. The goal of this deer cull is to reduce unwanted interaction between humans and deer as well as mitigating disease, which is important in a state that has faced several recent cases of Chronic Wasting Disease. However, despite the Ann Arbor residents’ complaints regarding the deer population, the concept of a mass cull has been met with strong object from groups such as Save the Deer Ann Arbor and FAAWN (Friends of Ann Arbor Wildlife in Nature). Despite these objections, the $35,000 cull is set to begin soon, and there are a few things Michigan residents and hunters alike should know.

Effective January 1st, a total of 26 parks will experience a reduction in hours. This will extend until March 31st, a period during which park hours will end at 4:00 pm daily. Should you plan to visit these parks, plan your day so that your activities are wrapped up by that time and you have vacated the area. The 26 parks in question are as follows:

– Arbor Hills Nature Area
– Argo Nature Area
– Bandemer Nature Area
– Barton Nature Area
– Bird Hills Nature Area
– Black Pond Woods Nature Area
– Bluffs Nature Area
– Braun Nature Area
– Cedar Bend Nature Area
– Dhu Varren Woods Nature Area
– Foxfire South Nature Area
– Foxfire West Nature Area
– Furstenberg Nature Area
– Huron Parkway Nature Area
– Kuebler Langford Nature Area
– Leslie Park Golf Course
– Leslie Woods Nature Area
– Narrow Gauge Nature Area
– Oakridge Nature Area
– Oakwoods Nature Area
– Olson Park
– Onder Nature Area
– Ruthven Nature Area
– South Pond Nature Area
– Stapp Nature Area
– Traver Creek Nature Area

During the hours of park closure, sharpshooters will be dispatching approximately 100 deer, the meat from which will be donated to area food banks. These individuals are highly trained and employed with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, also known as USDA-APHIS. These sharpshooters are experienced themselves but also work in the training of others. They are equipped with modern technology (night-vision and thermal-imaging scopes) and a skillset that enables them to perform an effective, one shot cull while maintaining the safety of the Ann Arbor population. This cull is not their first and will not be their last, be it in this area or elsewhere. Previous cull locations include Barton Hills, Big Rapids, Grand Haven, Manistee, and Mount Pleasant.

Although some people and groups do object to such a deer cull, it is important to remember that these things are not undertaken lightly. For this to occur, there is clear need, that being problems with interaction between deer and residents as well as the spreading issue that is Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD. Despite the fact that this cull will be completed with the utmost care and caution, it is important that we as not only Michigan Sportsman but also residents respect their space while this occurs.

In order to spread the word, signs will be posted at park entrances during the deer cull time period. It is also being announced via Ann Arbor’s website, social media, and Community Television Network. Residents will be notified as well via email or postcard so no one forgets this is taking place from January 1st through March 31st. In the meantime, however, if you have any questions, an FAQ regarding the cull can be found here. Culls are expected to occur in ward one and two annually for the next four years until a level of peace is restored in which unwanted human and deer population issues are greatly reduced.

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