Oh, Deer! What’s Your Experience?

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Saturday, March 16, 2019, 7:43 am
Jessy Gregg

As I was writing this article, my sons were taking advantage of the relatively warm weather to engage in 2019’s first outdoor nerf battle. Storming into our kitchen, weapon in hand, my eldest child announced, “Call the exterminator! The backyard is full of poop!”

As spring rains fall and the snow piles recede, evidence of animal activity is surfacing in East Lansing backyards. The scat in question here represents evidence of an urban deer herd that has been making themselves at home in our shrubbery. A few weeks ago, we counted eight of them bedded down in our suburban backyard in Shaw Estates.

What’s the view of deer in East Lansing from residents’ perspectives? East Lansing Info (ELi) is now conducting a survey to find out.

The survey seeks to gather information regarding deer populations and their movements in the East Lansing area, as well as resident views on deer management. If you are an East Lansing resident, please share your experiences. Click here to take the survey.

By way of background, ELi’s Paige Filice recently spoke with Cathy DeShambo, the Environmental Services Administrator for the City of East Lansing, regarding concerns about Chronic Wasting Disease and our local deer population.

At that time, DeShambo explained that the City conducts annual deer counts, and that the most recent count showed a decrease in the urban deer population. DeShambo suggested the decline in deer activity could be a result of reconstruction work on the Northern Tier Trail, which could have disrupted the deer in that area.

So far, the City of East Lansing has not decided to cull deer through a special hunt, which is one of the ways that deer are managed in neighboring Meridian Township and in the Ingham County Parks.

East Lansing’s Ordinance 1358, which was adopted in 2016, does leave open an avenue to approve hunting for the purpose of wildlife management. ELi’s survey asks you what you think about culling as an option.

Some of the warning signs of overpopulation are outlined in Ingham County’s deer management plan. These include an increase in deer-vehicle collisions, and reduction in biodiversity in the park environments. The latter is an issue since deer are selective grazers and seem to prefer native plants, leaving the area susceptible to bioinvasive species.

Damage to landscape plants in nearby neighborhoods is also a potential sign of overpopulation. Our survey also asks about your experience with landscaping and deer.

Even if you do not have deer in your neighborhood, please take our survey. It will help us map where the deer are showing up, and it will help us find out city-wide resident views on deer management strategies.

The survey is available by clicking here. It should take you three to four minutes to complete. Thank you.



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