How deer count day works in metro Detroit

Jan 15, 2015
Somehow this video is missing from the Channel 4 website. Its about deer count and the problems with deer and deer accidents in Rochester County and surroundings.
I checked, and its not just a matter of it being 2016 now. Other older videos are still on the site.
Am I paranoid?
I just finished posting, on NextDoor, that they should look at this video.
And it was there last week.

I wrote Channel 4 and asked them to check into this video.
Waiting to hear back.

Deer are a threat to nature, but sterilization isn’t the answer

This is from a letter to the editor of dated July 29,2015

Bait for Bambi,” published on Sunday, July 26, 2015 cites various reasons for reducing the deer populations of Central New York.

However, the article failed to cite what perhaps is the most important reason for reducing deer numbers: an overabundance of deer not only results in numerous sickly deer posing as a threat to human health (i.e. Lyme disease) but also as a threat to destroy nature.

As newly growing trees, flowers, bushes and others succumb to these voracious eaters, much of the habitat needed by various birds and other animals is destroyed.

This results in fewer birds, ground animals, butterflies and even honey bees, all of which are badly needed for the production of man-made crops.”

Read more at:

Update from Municipal Health Director, CT

December 23, 2015

…..Here in the Nutmeg state, our deer population got out of control, particularly in Fairfield County (next to NYC). We have over 2K auto/deer collisions a year statewide. As a municipal health director, I receive approximately 400 Lyme disease case notifications per year; in a population numbering 20K. This is greater than any other reportable communicable disease. My knees and wrists know all too well the aftermath of Lyme, having contracted it twice. Most of us now carry a tick removal tool on our key chains. Needless to say, we have utter disdain for the Eastern whitetailed deer, the whitefooted mouse and the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis).

Safety and public health issues aside, probably the most devastating is the destruction to the level of browse of woodland undergrowth and the damage to Eastern Connecticut’s agriculture, particularly orchards and nursery stock. The woodland destruction is so extensive that there are no oak, ash, cedar or hickory saplings. The maple/oak woods behind our home is bare of any young trees; thereby allowing the unrestricted growth of brambles … several varieties, each worse than the other. Two years ago, the (hypothesized) insult to the forest ecology from deer overpopulation resulted in no acorns being produced. The deer population density and lack of food resulted in the re-absorption of deer fetuses and numerous starvation deaths. We also saw the introduction of wasting disease. While you may think that the stress on the deer population is a good thing, we also see a marked reduction in coyote, fox, wild turkey, woodland songbirds and predators’ morsels such as white-footed mice and voles. There is no stability. We go from one extreme to the other.

When I was the biological safety officer on Plum Island, we had to dispatch deer because of the threat of disease transmission, particularly foot and mouth disease. However, the more deer that were destroyed, the more swam from the Hamptons to Gardner’s Island to Plum. We spent about $40K annually (out of my budget) on APHIS hunters. I too managed to dispatch a few with my M1 carbine when I was duty officer and had to spend the night on the island. In short, we are harmed more by deer overpopulation than by ISIS.

Follow up on message from

To follow up on my message on, I think even the advocacy biologists at the national humane society would agree with my assertion about the futility of the non-lethal deer management approaches, though you would have to press them to admit it.

This article on the deer culling controversy in Bloomington, published in Sept 2014, is revealing. ” When a member of the audience asserted that PZP was not effective, Griffin admitted that PZP has never been used in an open system like Griffy Lake.” Stephanie Boyles Griffin is the “senior director of innovative wildlife management and services for the Humane Society” and was subsequently invited to Ann Arbor to discuss the non-lethal options. The associated headline from on August 12, 2015 read “Humane Society concludes deer fertility control is feasible in Ann Arbor” and appeared in my mailbox as a news flash five days before the A2 council was expected to make a decision on whether to conduct the cull.

It is pretty clear that proposals for further studies are a delaying tactic. I cannot really even imagine the logistics of an experiment to test the efficacy of non-lethal methods. Would there be a control study with an undisturbed deer herd, and another in which culling was employed? It is an experimental design that the HSHV would be opposed to. And it would cost well over $100k if you wanted to involve U-M researchers. Of course, it is unlikely that any U-M researcher would take on the project because it is so easy to predict the outcome.

I am disappointed that a noble institution such as the HSHV has been taken over by such dogmatic leaders (pun intended) that have polarized our community over this issue. If the council is interested in more fact-checking from the ecological perspective I’d be happy to engage some of my colleagues on the topic as well.

best regards

Chris Dick
Director, University of Michigan Herbarium
Director, ES George Reserve
Associate Professor and Curator

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Michigan

Great Opinion piece from Ashland, Oregon

Guest Opinion: Time to ‘Blow away’ Bambi?, Ashland Daily Tidings, Nov 2, 2015

Years ago when the deer problem was brought to the City Council, the council ordered a census. When the numbers were presented, the council opted to not yet ask the state to lessen or stabilize the deer population.

Whatever that census was, it increased. Now deer are everywhere. And some deer are so accustomed to vehicles they wander about oblivious to traffic. That will cause collisions as people increasingly brake for deer crossing our streets.
It now seems appropriate that the council ask the state to limit the municipal deer population. In other words, will it request that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife contract with hunters on an ongoing basis to harvest, kill, shoot, cull, exterminate, limit, reduce, slaughter, execute, purge, erase or eliminate many of the town’s “Bambis?” Or can it request that deer be tranquilized and removed, likely a futile exercise?

A frequent response from Bambi-lovers is that the deer were here thousands of years before man, and therefore we lack the right to judge or take action on their numbers. When people did arrive here perhaps 15,000 years ago, we know they hunted deer, and now so should we. The Ashland City Council needs to decide on an optimum deer population and start to solve the problem by asking the state to license bow hunters to hunt on public property at the city’s fringes in early morning hours to maintain that population. But the most important thing to remember for those who want to do nothing is that deer have been aggressive. There is danger. The fears and concerns people have are real and not to be dismissed.

Read the full article at”

The Deer Dilemma

I came across this powerpoint presentation from Bloomington, IN while researching deer density issues.
Very well done and talks about indicator species and well as growth of the deer population over time.

The Deer Dilemma
• A local or temporary problem? No
• A minor problem? No
• Simple impacts? No

May be causing major and irreversible ecological effects

“Even before the fawns have matured.”

I can’t begin to tell you all the misrepresentations that were listed in the Stop the Shoot ad in the October Observer.

This is one– “Kill our deer, even before the fawns have matured”


Fawns are weaned by the time they are 10 weeks old.

By September, fawns are self-sufficient and remain with their mother for purely social reasons.

A cull will take place during the winter months and the HSHV knows that, but continues to beat this lie to death.

Deer are matrilineal. The home range of the mother is less than a square a mile in diameter. Her daughters establish home ranges that overlaps hers. Subsequent generations continue to overlap the original doe’s home range in a pattern resembling rose petals. The original doe is the matriarch of this “herd”. A doe may live to up to 15 years— that is as many as 13 sets of fawns, 13 generations for each doe— so the size of a matriarch’s herd can get quite large. During most of the year, you will see herds of just does and fawns.

Bucks have a slightly larger individual home range. The normal range for a buck is 1.25 miles, though it may travel up to 10 miles to find a doe in heat.

The rutting season for deer runs from October through January.
Fawns are born from May through June. Even those dropped at the end of June will be self sufficient in mid-September.

Most adult does produce 2 fawns a year, but as many as 20% will produce triplets.
Some of those female fawns, depending on weight, will breed their first fall. So those fawns who were born in May and have eaten well, will reach puberty, go into heat, and breed this first year. Most of these young mothers only have 1 fawn.

Just as a side note: There is and estimated 1.75 million deer in Michigan, the majority in the lower peninsula.

2009 article– Fawns pop up in backyards around Washtenaw County

In a 2009 MLive article, Fawns pop up in backyards around Washtenaw County

O’Connor, a licensed deer wildlife rehabilitator, said she’s getting more than 10 calls a day now about baby deer. She said the exploding deer and coyote population in southern Michigan have driven deer closer to homes to fawn.

Concluding paragraphs:

John Niewoonder, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said both species are highly adaptable to fragmented habitat and urban settings, so people are likely to see them more and more.

Niewoonder said coyotes may be playing a part in deer moving closer to the hearth to have babies, but said it’s more likely that deer are increasingly comfortable living in and around cities, where populations are not kept in check by hunting as they are in rural areas.

“It’s going to be a big problem for us down the road,” he said.

From the Michigan Botanical Society to City Council

P0000068The Michigan Botanical Club, a State Wide organization devoted to the study and conservation of native plants as well as educational programs about native plants, has an active Chapter, The Huron Valley Chapter, centered in the Ann Arbor area and meeting at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Many of our members have lived in the Ann Arbor area long enough to have seen the dramatic declines in wildflowers in many of the treasured woodlots in the Ann Arbor area in recent decades. As deer exclosure experiments have repeatedly shown in Michigan and other areas, much of this loss, especially in sensitive plant
groups like native orchids and conspicuous species such as trilliums and lilies, is due to excessively high deer populations. The detrimental effects of high deer populations on tree reproduction are also well known, and deer are also implicated in disturbances promoting invasive species. This is all in addition to the considerable monetary impact that high deer populations have in destroying landscaping in resident’s yards and generating more numerous deer-car collisions, to say nothing of potentially entrenching Lyme disease in our area.

Deer will always be a part of our environment, but the Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Botanical Club strongly supports an effective deer management plan including culling in Ann Arbor. We owe it to future generations living in Ann Arbor to manage deer populations so they are at levels that our natural environments and parks can sustain without serious degradation.