From a friend in PA

The beasts are rampant here this late spring / early summer. Whereas the 2015 rampaging of the beasts here commenced with the July 8 “running of the bulls” ( Spain) this year it began 3 weeks earlier. The local pols persist in their shoulder shrugging act of “we’ve looked into all; the options. Nothing can be done.” Last night a neighbor & I were playing “chase the beast.” in the twilight. His little girl & their friends are worried about an outdoor sleep out ( in a tent) with the beasts prowling our properties. I told him she ought to come to a muni meeting to make that statement.

See my letter to a couple of gardeners who have a show on the local AM station

Best Regards,

in deer infested Castle Shannon …. A Deer Sanctuary City

———-Original Message———-

Hi Doug:

I heard you & Jessica this Sunday June 26 on KDKA. bemoaning proliferating deer and the damages they cause. The problem is regional and that a regional solution is needed, which our fragmented Allegheny county municipal governments seems unwilling to tackle. We have what amounts to feral cattle wandering our properties and streets, destroying our landscape, fouling our properties with their defecation and presenting hazards to motorists.

Because the PA Game Commission, which has been granted control over virtually all wildlife, is funded solely from hunting licenses & game law fines, it caters to hunters who want more targets and hence we have rampant deer. These are prey animals and absent natural predators, humans must provide that function and the hunting community is woefully inadequate to the task. Restoring balance requires a more proactive approach on the part of municipalities overrun by these pests. .

We need critical mass to force a solution. It seems to me that gardeners throughout the area, united, could effectively demand action. Or, do we turn our communities into a kind of reversed zoo where people must surround their habitats with bars to keep out destructive wild animals. The problem is widespread and recognized by such authors as Al Cambronne:

and James Sterba.:

The University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Deer control group Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance have shown that notions of non-lethal deer control are “pseudo science”:

The pseudoscience of non-lethal deer management


As Gary Fujac of the PA Game Commission said to KDKA:
“There’s only one thing communities can really do, and that’s kill the deer and reduce the population for public safety,”
Local Community Finds Success In Curbing Deer Population

Why not light a candle rather than curse the darkness ? You have a forum which reaches thousands in our area. Would you add your voices to call for action in Allegheny County for the sake of both gardeners and for an ecological balance ?

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.

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.

More than 300 species of plants in Ann Arbor, based on the pollen records circa 1824

Often excluded in the discussion about deer numbers management over the last 10000 years or so, in Ann Arbor, was the very distinct and close relationship between humans and deer.

I daresay the major predator of the White-tailed deer, here, were Indians. In so doing, along with fire management — they established an extraordinarily beautiful, and floristically rich “natural area” here — with more than 300 species of plants in the pollen records circa 1824!

When Ann’s Arbour was settled, the were many exclamations about how wonderful the trees were (great Burr Oaks), and the richness of the herbaceous flora beneath (both prairie and Spring ephemerals). The town was built on a often used Indian campground, on the east shoreline of Allen’s Creek.

Were the Indians here ever to think they should not kill deer, they would have been eaten out of house and home, been without wonderful and comfortable clothing, likely would have had a great deal more trouble surviving.

Deer and humans have learned to be very close to one and other — but without the ability to kill them, things get way out of hand.

Chris Graham

HSUS’s Failed Deer Fertility Control Plan

Most recently, the radical animal rights organization attempted to push back against an urban hunt in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by proposing the non-lethal fertility control method. The City Administration there had recommended the hiring of sharpshooters to conduct annual culls of deer in the urban areas starting in 2016. This plan would also include a recommended ban on feeding deer and greater study of herd population size and movement. All of these are logical ideas meant to curtail a booming deer population in the city, and eliminate the well-known threats deer overpopulation causes.

These methods were recommended after a Cornell University study found that even with a 90% medication rate using HSUS-preferred sterilization methods; you can only stabilize the deer population. Additionally, the study pointed out that in suburban landscapes, like Ann Arbor, over 95% of female deer must be able to be surgically sterilized or the community should not even consider a sterilization program for population control. The cost of such a method would exceed $1,200 per deer.

Read more…

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Michigan DNR

The build-up of deer in urban and suburban areas has also become a challenge. Other than fencing, nonlethal control methods have usually been unsuccessful or impractical, and lethal controls have eventually been applied. Management of deer in urban and suburban settings will provide many future opportunities for public education and involvement.

Read more about the history of white-tailed deer in Michigan on the MDNR site.

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:


Article Posted: April 24, 2002

LANSING–Michigan natural resource officials today announced the schedule for the annual Trillium Festival, May 4 and 5, at Muskegon’s Hoffmaster State Park. “This is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to enjoy Michigan’s natural beauty,” said park manager Elizabeth Tillman. “The festival is an entertaining and educational event celebrating spring and Michigan’s wildflowers.”

April and May are prime blooming season for the assorted wildflowers which blanket Hoffmaster Park’s forest floors and wooded stream banks, providing a beautiful backdrop for educational programs. Programs throughout the two-day festival help visitors learn more about all the natural features of the woods and sand dune communities so prevalent in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. This event draws visitors from across the state each year.
The Festival is free, but a Motor Vehicle Permit is required for entry into any state park or recreation area for $4
daily, or $20 annually.
For a list of events that will take place throughout the weekend celebrating the rare and beautiful Trillium flower
and the 30th Anniversary of the Natural Areas Program, please call the contact listed above

Source: MDNR

So I did some research:

Growing deer herd gobbling park’s treasured flora, Michigan Sportsman, June 22, 2005Deer have wiped out most of the park’s trademark trillium, a dramatic change that forced the renaming of the annual Trillium Festival a few years ago.

Long-term effort to restore P.J. Hoffmaster State Park vegetation far from over, MLive, Nov 26, 2010 NORTON SHORES — In 2005, when the state first opened P.J. Hoffmaster State Park for deer hunting, the animals had ravaged the native vegetation and rare plants that grew near the forest floor.

Now, as the four-day hunt enters its sixth year, park officials say it has helped reduce the overabundant deer population, but plant recovery is far from complete.

Spring Is Blooming: The Best Places To See Wildflowers In and Around Grand Rapids, Experience Grand Rapids, May 14, 2015“We’re seeing a comeback of some of the flowers, some really big pockets, since we started (hosting) fall deer hunts. Its been slow, but we have great trails and some great flowers. The hepatica is blooming now, but we have white trilliums, bellworts, and variety of violets. We have a ton of spring beauties and Dutchmans breeches on southern-facing slopes. People also see jack-in-the- pulpits. The deer dont like to eat those.” (Gillette Sand Dunes

Gillette Nature Association at Hoffmaster State Park, March 2014. Park regrowing white trillium and selling them as fundraiser.