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Ann Arbor begins fourth annual deer cull

deer in snowy woods
Flickr user rkramer62

Ann Arbor's deer management program is in the fourth and final year of operations approved by the city council. The deer cull starts Jan. 2.

The City of Ann Arbor has updated its deer management program to allow culling of deer on private property with written consent of the owner.  Owners of neighboring properties have already been notified. The city says residents of the area can go about their normal daily activities.

Sharpshooters will also hunt deer in some city parks and on select University of Michigan and Concordia University properties. They'll be culling deer from 3 PM to midnight through January 27. Bernie Banet is with Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance. He says culling on private property will improve the overall management plan. "There are some impacted neighborhoods, especially in wards one and two, where deer have become a real issue for traffic safety and for the health of public parklands and private landscaping and gardens," says Banet. The goal is to remove 150 deer.

The city monitors the success of the deer management plan through browse damage to trees and plants. "We're not there yet, but we're getting there, it looks like, from the deer counts. And we may well be headed in the right direction, which is very good news," says Banet. 

The city also continued its deer sterilization program, but this year it completed those operations earlier, for better weather. Six female deer were sterilized and released in November.
The City of Ann Arbor says that venison harvested from the cull will be donated to a local food pantry. In response to concerns about potential PFAS contamination of the meat, it consulted with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and based on two statewide studies, determined the meat would be safe to eat.

Catherine Shaffer joined Michigan Radio in 2014. She works in the newsroom and specializes in stories related to the life sciences, health, and technology. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Master’s from University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan Radio, Catherine has worked as a freelance writer, mainly in focusing on biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, since 2001. She is also an award-winning fiction writer. When not at work, Catherine enjoys being in the outdoors and practicing yoga.