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, wc4eb.org, 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 wc4eb.org. 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

My Deer Story

Several years ago when we moved to Webster Township, we were delighted to find a deer path in our yard and see the local herd pass through, and see the newborn fawns take their first steps and then frolic in the yard in the spring. We also have spent many hours removing the invasive plants from our property, including mounds of garlic mustard. As invasives were removed, we started to see some of the native plants return, including a few trillium. Well, most the trillium are gone now, as well as a number of other natives, as these have turned into deer chow while the deer herd continues to expand.

22396547Seeing the significant reduction of the monarch population due to loss of habitat, we started a few milkweeds in the yard, knowing that monarchs are picky eaters and need milkweeds to survive. Milkweed has been known as somewhat deer resistant. We were rewarded with a Monarch egg, and then a Monarch caterpillar. But shortly after, the plant had been deer browsed, the caterpillar gone, and that was the end of this possible Monarch.

The plant layer of our woods is quite minimal and the plant life that supports other picky butterflies, the birds and other woodland critters has been greatly reduced due to the over-abundance of the deer population who graze on the food sources for these others.

We would like our woodland to support all native species and for them to have a habitat and thrive, and be in ecological balance.

Toni S.
Webster Township