Deer Downtown

From an email:

This should not be happening, not downtown, not one block from City Hall. We have a deer problem, and it cannot be ignored.

Buck at Division and AnnBig bucks like this one (look at that rack!!!) are aggressive if cornered, and our backyard is a confining space for this large animal. I was startled on my way out this morning, and captured a shaky phone photo before he took off down East Ann Street.

Please keep the cull on the agenda for this winter!

Key recommendations from 2015 Ann Arbor Deer Management Plan

The City should set an overall goal of reducing deer-human negative interactions.
The first area of focus should be Wards 1 & 2. The recommended process is implementation of a series of annual culls, beginning in winter of 2016, on city property in Wards 1 & 2.
A sharpshooting contractor should be used for the culls. In order to permit a culling operation City Code Chapter 115 – Weapons and Explosives will need revision.
The planning process revealed public support in Wards 1 and 2for a lethal method.

Potential culling sites are surveyed months before the cull occurs and estimate the number of deer that would be harvested. All culls are conducted in January and February.
During this time, there are no fawns in the deer herd, thus no baby deer will be orphaned by the cull. Per MDNR regulation, all deer meat will be donated to the needy.
The Survey indicated that safety is the number one concern regarding implementation of a lethal method to decrease deer. The number two concern was proper management of hunters/shooters. A significant outreach effort is recommended to allay citizen concerns prior to a cull. According to MDNR, there have been
NO reported safety incidents by communities using contracted sharpshooters. The culling areas will be closed to the public prior to and during any cull.
No firearms will be discharged outside the culling area and all shots will be fired from above, into the ground.

Contrary to reports by opponents– the culls would take place in city parks, at night, by selected sharpshooters.

The trample, they dig, and they poop

From a neighbor in Ward 2
April 1, 2015

I have 5 now adult deer making my back yard there home.
I resent having deer droppings… and possible deer ticks when I have my grandchildren play in my backyard.
All of my yews are gone… 5… 2 of them over 5o years old and 9 feet tall. They tample they dig and they poop

New deer tracking

I had said that we would track where the deer were during February and March, and I think we accomplished this — for at least the Neighborhoods in my network of “Nextdoor” neighbors. You can see that the deer are heavily present in Ward 1 and 2, though there are some cropping up around the city. I was very careful not to enter areas where I had seen deer in the past (like on the corner of Crestlawn and St. Francis), but not during this time period, and I did not enter records sent me from people who said they had seen them in certain places “in the past”.

On the map, I also indicated where deer accidents and deaths occurred and where a coyote was sited.

I would like to create another map now that continues to track these deer incidents AND lets us see where and when the fawns show up.

So, unless you live outside Ward 1 and 2– please no more deer sightings– with the exception of accidents.
BUT everyone– love to see where and how many fawns you see.
Thanks for your help.

Deer Sightings

Judy C. from Ann Arbor Hills 7h ago

A deer ran across Bedford Rd a few days ago only a few feet in front of my car. Fortunately I was driving extra slowly or we would have been on a collision course. Also, 6 deer regularly bed down between some trees in my yard. It occurred to me that it would be easier to cull them when they are sleeping or at rest. Maybe not as sporting but probably more humane and certainly easier. It gives access to groups of them instead of finding them one at a time randomly.

Carey S. from Ann Arbor Hills 3h ago

A group of 6-7 passed through out backyard (Bedford Rd) and into the woods shared by several neighbors’ on Sheridan. This is regular occurrence; I would say I spot some group of deer 3-4 times per week. This is clearly safe passage way for them, they come very near house and eat whatever is available.

Mike M. from Water Hill 2h ago

Judy wrote, “6 deer regularly bed down between some trees in my yard. It occurred to me that it would be easier to cull them when they are sleeping or at rest.”

Makes sense to me too, Judy. There is a family that beds down in backyards behind/south of the 600 block of Sunset. (have pics) Was amazed that for the aerial count most of the deer were in parks/wooded nature areas (and not in residential where they chomp away before/after?)….but that makes sense because in the morning you see them move from their resting/sleeping area, and then in the evening they return. And before the snow melted you can find their hoof paths to easily track movements between overnight resting and daytime deer play areas!

City Releases Aerial Deer Survey Results

City Releases Aerial Deer Survey Results

March 17, 2015 – ​The City of Ann Arbor completed two aerial surveys of the deer population on February 10 and March 6. The first survey counted 116 deer and the second survey counted 168. Both aerial deer survey results, specific counts and survey area maps are available to download via the Deer Management Project website at

The aerial surveys were conducted by a three-person crew of city staff who visually counted deer via helicopter. The first aerial flyover included all areas of the city, except the downtown near hospitals and the Arboretum, while the second survey included the entire city, including downtown and the Arboretum.

Deer survey map: Feb 10, 2015 and March 6, 2015. Findings were consistent between the two surveys, which indicate the majority of deer in Ann Arbor are largely located in Wards 1 and 2. The population concentration of deer in Wards 1 and 2 also is corroborated by A2 Open City Hall survey results, resident public comments during two public meetings and numerous resident emails and photos submitted to city staff noting an increase in deer sightings and garden and property damage.

In addition to consulting with the Michigan Department of Natural Resource staff about the flyover results, city staff will use a variety of data to assist in the development of deer management plan options for City Council consideration at the end of April, including aerial deer counts, A2 Open City Hall survey results, public meeting comments and other feedback received directly from residents.

Scat, scat

I found a neighbor wearing surgical gloves, picking up deer poop in his yard on Saturday. “If these gloves keep AIDS out, they should be good for whatever is in this stuff,” he said.

As you can see, he found a lot in his yard…and he wasn’t pleased!

I counted 15 individual deer in my back yard since Feb 19

At the request of neighbors, I am sending an update to let you know of the extent of the deer problem in my area. I have lived at my address on Clair Cir. since October 1990. When we moved here, deer sightings were quite rare. Over the years, the number of deer moving through our yards has increased. In the past two to three years, the number of deer living here has exploded. Since mid-Feb, deer have been living continuously in my back yard, and in the yards of those houses next to mine, between Clair Cir and Mixtwood, and Clair Cir and Red Oak. The area is residential, with a small slope of trees between the houses on Mixtwood & Red Oak and those on Clair Cir.

I counted 15 individual deer in my back yard since Feb 19 (identified by differing sizes, scars, evidence of antlers):

2 bucks (or a buck and a doe) lived continuously in the back yard since early to mid-Feb

Feb 19 – they were joined by and chased out by a doe and 2 or 3 yearlings

Feb 22 – A new grouping of 6: a large 10-point buck with 5 other deer moved in and stayed in the area for one or two nights.

Feb 25 – the six from Feb 22 were gone but two new deer, a female and yearling (female very, very heavily pregnant) moved in for a day and night

Feb 27 – a different doe and yearling (not as rotund as the doe on Feb 25) stayed overnight

March 2 – two does (reported by my husband, I did not see)

March 3 – the 10-point buck (with a very distinctive rack) and his harem were back.

While I had seen many deer, I did not realize the extent to which the deer were continually inhabiting our yards. This past weekend, I walked out by my garden shed while thinking I may hire some shed builders to construct a new shed for me considering the old one is a little damaged. I can’t believe how much damage deers can actually do to your garden. And because of this, I’m even thinking about having a look at the different types of shed siding that are available to me. I think that this may ensure that my new shed is even more protected and hopefully, it won’t get damaged again in a long time. I was astonished at what I found. My back yard, and that of my neighbors, looks like a heavily-used barn yard. There are deer nests or burrows everywhere–in areas that I did not realize were being used. (The deer dig holes in the deep snow and sleep curled up in the holes. This renders the deer invisible from a distance.) The ground is very heavily covered with droppings–so much so that one cannot walk without avoiding the mess. The vegetation and natural areas are trashed. Even “deer resistant” vegetation has been consumed. The deer are eating hemlock, barberry, yew, and anything and everything else available. I enjoy growing my own fruit in the summer, especially berries, but now I am concerned that the deer are just going to eat whatever I plant. I’m considering getting some composite decking board and building some sort of deck next summer so that I can have a small greenhouse and continue to grow different fruits whilst protecting them from the deer. I could also sit out on the deck when it’s sunny and keep an eye out for any more deer appearing.

It is clear from the physical evidence that a large number of deer are living in the area, even if we do not see them every day. My neighbor tells me that they bed down next to her house, or under the yews and evergreens near another neighbor’s house. On any given day, there will be between two and six deer in our yards. What happens in the spring, when the does drop their fawns? Many will have twins, and a few will have triplets.

We have many concerns about the deer: the damage to vegetation and natural areas, loss of landscaping investment, loss of the use of our yard due to the excessive amount of droppings, increased risk for lyme disease and fecal-borne contaminants, and possible unsafe interaction with the deer (risk to pets and children). We hope that Ann Arbor can arrive at a feasible and effective solution. The status quo is not ok.

Stories on Lowell Road, March 3, 2015

lowell1Seven deer this morning. They’re around in the morning and evening, sometimes joined by as many as 10 others. Burlap is covering a native tree, replanted after last year’s newly-planted trees were eaten to the ground.

lowell2The deer are very tame and curious. Here we’re looking at each other through the living room window

lowell3The deer come to Newport Creek, which runs along the property. There have been as many as 17 deer here.

Deer droppings are everywhere.
lowell6This is how deer browse looks. This chewing has taken away this spring’s blossoms on the kousa dogwood, one of the shrubs termed “rarely eaten” on the deer lists. The dogwoods, planted 10 years ago, had reached beautiful proportions, however this winter the deer have reduced their size by about half and chewed off most of what would have been the flower buds.

lowell7Along the property line, the neighbor’s Green Giant arbor vitae, sold as “deer resistant,” are skeletons. From the Washington Post article titled Fewer and fewer plants are truly deer-resistant, Joel M. Lerner, gardening columnist, February 19, 2011. “Deer are pests that eat arborvitae, but green giant arborvitae is the only one that I’ve planted that has not been damaged by deer. They will taste it but apparently don’t like the flavor.” Apparently Ann Arbor deer DO like the flavor.

lowell8Across the street, neighbor Warren, wintering in Florida, will be surprised that deer have taken off the tops of his spreading junipers. Everything that used to be poking up through the snow has been stripped.

lowell9Back in January, a neighbor took a photo of deer in Warren’s yard. He sent the photo to neighbors and to Sabra Briere. Note the snow “mushrooms” which are burlap-wrapped yews. Warren wrote: “I burlap-wrapped the 22 yews in my front yard for the winter. These past five years the deer have “trimmed” off all the new growth, so I might not be able to save them.”

lowell21The snow-topped burlap wrappings of 21 of his yews are still in place, but one has lost its covering. That one is considerably smaller than the others, completely denuded of any needles.

lowell22 how the tree looks with nary a needle.

lowell23Here are the deer tracks around the yew.


lowell24As I left Warren’s yard, I paused to take a photo of these arbor vitae. They are eaten up to the line that deer can reach, just a little short of the eaves on the garage.