November 2007, Deer Culling – A Critical Tool for Conserving Local Habitat Diversity: A Green Paper by the Bird Conservation Network

From 2007, but still very relevant

BCN is a coalition of 18 groups and organizations, representing many thousands of people who live throughout the Chicago region. Our members enjoy and value birds and the natural landscapes where we find them. Our coalition advocates and promotes the perpetuation and appreciation of the native bird species of the Chicago region, both resident and migratory. To achieve this purpose, we are not only advocates for the birds; we also strive to protect/enhance the habitats and ecosystems used by birds. BCN actively initiates, assists, and supports programs that seek to protect our native birds and the habitats they depend upon, and studies their interrelationships within the various habitats that occur within the Chicago region. I n this role, BCN partners with many of the major land managers throughout the Chicago area.
We offer this paper (1) to outline our concerns that habitat within forest preserves and other natural areas in the region are being adversely affected by widespread overpopulation of white-tailed deer, and (2) to recommend ongoing proactive efforts to reduce this deer overpopulation.

This paper can be found at

Other aspects of the danger of deer to birds can be found on our website at



Maurita Holland, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

I speak for Ann Arbor’s symbol, the oak tree, shown on its stationery, documents, and doors, selected because it is a keystone species in our area, a species with disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance.

Oaks are the hub of a nature wheel, they support more than 5,000 species of insects, 58 species of reptiles and amphibians, 105 species of mammals, and over 150 species of birds that rely on them for some part of their life cycle. When oaks go, so do these associated species. Oaks create acorns, one primary native food for deer. Deer love eating new oak seedlings, and big oaks cannot replace themselves when deer densities are high. Loss of big oaks in Washtenaw County would cause massive animal suffering. A recent walk in Bird Woods showed no oak saplings—all browsed away, a generation of trees lost. That’s little surprise since a Cornell University study found no new oaks when deer density exceeds 14 per square mile, and our deer density in northwest Ann Arbor is much higher.

The cerulean warbler from South America comes to raise its young here. It depends on our mature trees, especially oaks once common in Washtenaw County. Hooded warblers migrate from Mexico and Central America to raise their young here. This species once was common in Washtenaw County but is now on the state threatened list. They seek forests with a mature canopy and a dense understory of small trees and shrubs in which to build their nests, but deer browse this understory so completely as to obliterate their nest sites, and deer even eat bird eggs when found close to the ground. I speak for our City’s symbol.

Actually, I also speak for deer, hungry deer who reproduce within 6-9 months of birth and continue reproducing until they die after 10-12 years. Contrary to myth, does, each of which has 1-3 fawns per year, will live within 1 mile of where they were born. Research shows that deer do not migrate long distances or fill vacuums. Instead, they stay in the area where they were born, doubling in population every two years. Does eat 10 lbs/day; bucks eat 15-20 lbs/day. Last winter, some actually left bloody tracks in the snow here, their mouths bleeding from eating spruce trees, one of many trees on the so-called “deer resistant list” that hungry deer eat when food is scarce.

Finally, I speak for the Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance, formed by citizens who have experience with ecology, environment, gardening, conservation stewardship and who long have participated with local and national nature organizations. Our website,, grew out of the tremendous number of resources we were reading and sharing. We soon realized that we had built a resource of interest to a much wider community. In fact, our online stats show that recent visitors to our site have come from as far away as Brazil. The deer management problem stretches from Brazil to Canada. We’ve collected best practices and management plans from hundreds of states and cities that are taking back their environment from a species that has no predator and whose population, left unchecked save for deer-vehicle collisions, doubles every two years.

#A2manydeer #we4eb

Audubon 7/2005– Public Menace

buck2There’s only one way to protect yourself, your family, and native ecosystems from the most dangerous and destructive wild animal in North America, an animal responsible for maiming and killing hundreds of humans each year, an animal that wipes out whole forests along with most of their fauna. You have to kill it with guns.

I’m talking about the white-tailed deer. In what Gary Alt, one of the nation’s most respected wildlife biologists, calls “the greatest mistake ever made in wildlife management,” deer are being allowed to overpopulate to the point of destroying the ecosystems they’re part of and depend on. The annual mortality of roughly 1.5 million deer via collisions on the nation’s highways doesn’t make a dent, save in motor vehicles and their operators —damage that costs the insurance industry about $1.1 billion a year. Support deer hunting, even if you don’t like the idea. In the long run it’s the only humane solution and the only way to protect the native ecosystems that deer are part of and depend on.

Read the Audubon Pennsylvania and Habitat Alliance deer-management study at
And read more of this article at

#A2manydeer #wc4eb #realfactsabouturbandeer

Watch the video- Deer Management Forum, Cornell University

View Deer Management Forum, Cornell University, Nov 13, 2013. This was public Deer Management Panel Discussion sponsored by Cornell Plantations and the Atkinson Center, about coordinated deer management within Tompkins County.

This forum, with a panel of experts, deals with environmental impact or deer and forest regeneration, impacts on vegetation, insects and birds, Lyme Disease (exponential growth), deer-vehicle accidents and how some cities/villages/campus are dealing with it.

Panel included Award-winning journalist, Jim Sterba, Cornell Faculty Fellows Bernd Blossey and Paul Curtis, mayors of Lansing and Cayuga Heights and Jeremy Hurst, NY DEC.

I speak for the environment- for the birds, forests, and other wildlife

I speak for the trilliums that have disappeared from Bird Woods because a large mammal with no predator has killed them by walking and sleeping on them. I speak for the warblers whose nesting bushes have disappeared because they have been eaten by a large mammal who has no predators. I speak for the oak and beech forests that will never grow because the saplings have been chewed away and eaten by a large mammal who has no predators. I speak for the deer exclosures at the Leslie Science Center and the UM Botanical Gardens that provide visual evidence that the web of life relies on native plants and trees, flora, and fauna in order to assure sustainability. I speak for the Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance,, a growing group of concerned University faculty, business and professional people, homeowners, conservation-minded citizens, Master Gardeners, and community volunteers for organizations such as NAP, the Huron Valley Watershed Council, and the Stewardship Network who have read and contributed to our website’s deer management plans from around Michigan and the US, its scientific articles, newspaper accounts, and links for contacting public officials.

I also speak for immediate action because the problem is more than doubling annually as does give birth to more than one fawn every year. The recommended deer density of 12.5 deer per square mile already is exceeded in this county by approximately 12.5 times, and this county has one of the highest number of car-deer accidents in the entire state, averaging 3 per day, $3,000 per accident.

The non-lethal ways to control deer have been tried and have failed. Some pin a last hope on the Humane Society of the U.S.’s proposal for deer contraception or sterilization, but the Society, rightly lauded for its work with domesticated pet animals, does not possess significant expertise as to non-domesticated animals and is over several years away from possibly supplying even arguable efficacy for adopting such an approach. It began a small, 5 year study just this year. The study’s methodology has not been approved by Michigan’s DNR, the study uses a drug that has not been approved by the FDA, the drug costs $800-1,000 per deer to make and deliver, and, in its first year, it has resulted in sterilization of but one deer, and this after she had mated. She has since produced a fawn. Although there is dim prospect for success, the Humane Society’s efforts affirm a central point: we have a deer over-population problem and we need to deal with it.

Finally, I speak for people who support this Council’s resolution to hear public comment and who urge Ann Arbor to join the growing number of U.S. cities, townships, and park districts, as close as Jackson, MI, Meridian Township, and the Huron MetroParks, in crafting a plan that stops needless disease, needless vehicle-deer accidents, and needless denuding of our parks and landscapes.

For further information, please see We will offer an educational tour of local sites in mid-September and will soon add an FAQ to our active and growing website.

Maurita Holland