The idyllic deer in NE Ann Arbor

June 7, 2016
1:35 pm
Yes, I know this is outside the Ann Arbor city limits, but just…

A few cars in front of me a deer (doe) was hit by a truck. The deer was crossing Plymouth going north. It was hit by a small truck heading east (which later stopped, blocking one lane). The deer was thrown two lanes north into the far right lane (going west) on Plymouth Rd, in front of another car which just managed to stop (and another car after that). When I passed the deer it was down on the ground, head and neck on the road, but the legs were still kicking. One lane in each direction on Plymouth Rd, were blocked.

I did not look to see what damage happened on the truck, nor did I stop to take a picture or video of the downed deer. The driver of the truck was getting out as I passed by, so assuming he was okay.

Didn’t see any fawns near by.

Remember to protect your new city trees from the deer!

From NextDoor in River Ridge

Many of us in River Ridge received new trees from the city today (29 trees today alone!), and many more will be planted within this week. The trees are NOT deer resistant, so your tree might need a little help from you to survive.

Here are some tips:
1. Protect the trunk with tubing, chicken wire, or other fencing wrapped around the trunk.
2. If the lowest branches are within easy reach of deer (lower than 5 feet), you might want to protect them with netting, with fencing around the tree, or another method such as strings staked around the tree at about 3′ and 5′ above the ground.

For the common areas (centers of the “circle” streets), I hope everyone will pitch in to try to protect the trees. My son and I are going to use the extra fencing we have on a few of the trees in Balmoral circle. We’re also going to try tying a few mylar strips on the trees, with the hopes that they will spook the deer.

Enjoy our lovely tree and let’s try to help them survive!

Barton Nature Area

bartonhillsParts of the Barton Hills Nature Area contain a remnant of a lovely Oak Savannah with some trees that were able to spread their branches with no interference. They are magnificent. However, where will their successors grow? We will explore the impact of the growing number of deer on oak seedlings. It is easy to miss the damage as you hike along enjoying the birds or the showy goldenrod or the other pleasures of the area. However, once you learn the distinctive profile of deer browse and the resulting deer shrubbery or stumps, you have a better understanding of the pressure on our natural areas.

In our neighborhood, the deer herbivory is of a different order of magnitude. A lot happens when virtually nothing is done to curtail the deer population.

Remember what Douglas Tallamy said about oak trees: Quercus supports 532 species of Lepidoptera. The caterpillars of those butterflies and moths provide part of the nearly 100% protein diet that our songbirds need to raise their young.

When Animal Rights Sabotage the Natural World

By Richard Conniff

When Animal Rights Sabotage the Natural World, Strange Behaviors, April 8, 2016It’s not a failure to communicate. Animal rights groups are often brilliant at communicating. It’s a failure to reason in the face of scientific evidence, and it comes up almost endlessly for people who do the real work of protecting the natural world.

The latest case happened in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The city wanted to cull a booming deer population that is destroying the forest understory, damaging local landscaping, and causing car accidents (88 last year, double what it was just five years ago). Then both the Humane Society of the United States and the local chapter of the Humane Society—two separate entities—showed up to cry, “Cruelty!”

The good news from Ann Arbor is that city officials saw through the HSUS smokescreen of nonsense and lawsuits. They went forward with their cull, taking out 63 deer earlier this year. The venison went to food shelters. It remains to be seen whether ecological common sense will endure through another round of emotional assaults before next winter’s cull. Here is the bottom line, for when HSUS shows up in your community. Because those two words, “Humane Society,” start the name, a lot of people donate to HSUS under the assumption that their gift supports local animal shelters. That’s how HSUS was able to collect donations totaling $135 million in 2014, and it’s the reason even some University of Michigan faculty thought it was almost sacrilegious to criticize the group. In fact, HSUS has no direct connection to local animal shelters, and only a tiny fraction of its budget goes in direct grants to animal shelters. Its main function, according to its tax statement, is “advocacy and public policy”—that is, lobbying.

‘Professional harvesting’ needed to reduce North Fork deer population to a level that won’t pose threat to human health: report, Southold Local, April 5, 2016Meaningful reduction of the deer herd on the North Fork is the only realistic way to control the serious tick-borne diseases infecting local residents, according to a report prepared by Southold Town’s tick working group. And the only way to achieve the reduction needed is to incorporate professional deer harvesting into any deer population management program, because recreational hunting cannot alone reduce the herd to a level that will not pose a threat to human health, the report concludes.

Read more at the Strange Behaviors Blog.
Follow the issues at

Evaluation of Strategies and Programs to Reduce / Eradicate Tick Populations

Report of Southold, NY Town Tick Working Group
March 28, 2016


The tick working group and the alliance both say public education is crucial, because people need to really understand the extent of the threat posed by deer and the tick-borne diseases they help spread. The public also needs to understand the facts about managing the deer population. The North Fork Deer Management Alliance has prepared a brochure that it is looking to raise money to print and mail to every household. The tick working group suggested to the town board that it mail a brochure that’s already been published by the county.

Deer Work Faulted in East Hampton

Deer Work Faulted, East Hampton Star, March 24, 2016

The village has spent approximately $190,000 on the effort to date, and critics have argued that the process is cruel and ineffective, and have claimed that the surgery resulted in several deaths.

“Responsible, well-planned hunting is by far the most successful way to control the deer population within the village and would be in keeping with the deer management plan of its neighbor, the Town of East Hampton,” Mr. O’Riordan said. Drugs or chemicals used in the capture and sterilization process, he said, could “compromise the safety of the meat of a legal game animal . . . denying state residents of their right to harvest an animal to feed themselves, their friends, and their relatives.”

Read more

Jim Sterba writes in response to MLive article

From: jim sterba in response to recent MLive article

Hundreds of communities fighting over deer issues think they are unique — as if their deer fights are new. I suggest, for history buffs, two books: Going Wild, by Jan Dizard, about how overabundant deer threatened the Boston water supply at Quabbin Reservoir; Nature Wars (Ch. 5) by Jim Sterba (me), about many other deer fights and the history of deer in Michigan. You’ll like both.

The Orphan Fawns and culls

Buckmanager, Dec 15, 2008To begin, whitetail fawns are usually weaned and become functioning ruminants at eight weeks of age. Most fawns at southern latitudes are born in late May and June, meaning the majority of fawns are weaned by the end of August. And this makes sense from a biological perspective, because as late-summer food sources deplete the doe can then rely on the fawn to nourish itself. This covers the majority of whitetail fawns that hunters will encounter in the field during the fall hunting season.

In general, harvesting does with fawns will not impact an individual fawn, unless the fawn is less than two months in age. Fawns older than two months, found in areas with good habitat, are just as likely to survive after the doe is removed.

The First Months, 5 November 2010, Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia
At about 2 weeks of age fawns begin experimenting with tender vegetation. By watching its mother feed, and by experimenting on its own, the fawn soon learns what foods to select. After about 2 months of age, the 4-chambered stomach is fully developed and the fawn likely could survive without its mother’s milk. However, fawns will continue to nurse until they are 4 or 5 months of age, or longer if the doe lets them.

WHITETAIL DEER – FAWNS, suwanneeriverranch.comA doe will sometimes protect her fawn if the predator is small, but more often she will not. The mother-fawn bond can also be broken in cases of starvation in which a doe will drive her own fawn away from a food source. That is nature’s strict law for the species: the most likely to survive come first. A doe can make more fawns, but she must be fed, alive and healthy to do it. Deer form small groups for much of the year. There are two kinds of deer groups. One is a mother deer and her fawns. One female deer may have up to three fawns at a time. The other type of group is made up of between three and five bucks.

Bucks try to prove their dominance (who’s toughest and in charge) by ramming each other, as well as kicking and flailing with their legs. Bucks also mark their territory by making rubbing their antlers on trees.

A doe has from one to three fawns in a litter. It usually depends on the age of the doe and how much food is around. Fawns stay with their mother for almost a year. She drives them off before she has a new litter.

The White-tailed Deer
Since mating season occurs in the fall, springtime is when whitetail doe tend to have their young. The average gestation period of the whitetail deer doe in North America is 200 to 205 days. This period can be shorter or longer depending on the availability of food. When food is plentiful the fawn will be born after a shorter gestation time while the opposite would be true if the food supply is scarce.As a general rule, most doe end up only having one fawn the first time; however, the following years they are more likely to have twins, and it’s really not uncommon for them to have triplets in some cases as well. Once she has her young, she is on her own raising her young.

Even after she begins taking out the fawns with her looking for food, they are usually not totally weaned until they are about 8-10 weeks old, meaning that she is quite tied down to them for some time.

Another interesting fact about whitetail deer doe in the spring is that this is the time when she often kicks out young males who were born the year before. Usually young bucks stay with their mother until they are almost a year old, but during the spring they usually leave on their own or the females will drive them away. On the other hand, young females often will stay with their mother for up to two years, and even then they usually stay in the same general area as their mother. However, once it is time for the doe to have a new litter of fawns, she often will return to her preferred fawning area in the spring, excluding the rest of her previous fawns from the area.

The Ann Arbor cull, as in most culls, occur in Winter months (after aerial survey– best with snow on the ground).
Since most fawns are dropped in May, the majority of fawns at the time of a cull are 7-8 months old.

The “orphan” fawns are then self sufficient and used to roaming around with the “herd”.

Deer Culls in Michigan: Intersection of Science, Policy and Values; Colliquia at Michigan State University

, Thursday March 3, 2016Kellogg Center, Michigan State University The Environmental Science and Policy Program is starting a Research Colloquia Series that extends the format of the former student research presentations by ESPP specialization students to now include a variety of formats including student and expert panel discussions, faculty roundtables and debates. These events will utilize ESPP’s unique network of MSU expertise spanning MSU’s colleges to address important and timely environmental issues that cross disciplinary boundaries. The ESPP Research Colloquia Series is envisioned as a forum for MSU students, researchers and visitors to engage in research discussions where an interdisciplinary perspective is critical.
View discussion

One of the videos that can be seen on the site.