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 and 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.
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.