brochure - Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance
Humans have drastically
changed the environment by
removing predators and are now
at the top of the food chain. We
need to take responsibility to
reestablish the ecological
Communities around the country
have put annual hunts in place to
manage deer population, and
provide local food pantries with
much needed protein for poor
families. Regulated hunting
makes the coexistence of
humans and wildlife sustainable.
To promote awareness and
discussion of the importance
of biodiversity in our
community and the threats
that over abundant species
pose to ecological balance.
For more information go
A balanced ecosystem ensures that many
species of animal life can prosper. Photo
by Anna Fiedler.
The City of Ann Arbor is currently
considering deer management
options in partnership with the
Washtenaw County Parks and
Recreation Commission, the
University of Michigan, the
Humane Society of Huron Valley,
and the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources. 9/14
Across the country, there are too many
white-tailed deer. It’s the same in
Washtenaw County. The current
density of deer is now estimated by
the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources to be many times the ideal
for a balanced ecosystem.
Deer damage landscaping plants and
crops at considerable expense to
homeowners and farmers. They also
over-browse woodland plants which
removes the food and shelter for
hundreds of other species. Favoring
one species at the expense of others
results in an imbalance which
threatens entire ecosystems.
Deer/vehicle collisions result in injuries
and deaths of both humans and deer
—and raise insurance rates. Driving
in deer country requires constant
Deer also carry ticks that can transmit
Lyme disease which has been on the
rise in Southeastern Michigan.
This level of population is also not
healthy for the deer. Deer at this
population density are more
susceptible to disease, malnutrition,
and injury—that is why communities
across the country have annual hunts
to manage their deer population.
Why so many deer?
Hunting is limited: Most land in
Southeastern Michigan is in private
hands and hunting is prohibited in the
towns and cities.
Predator removal: The grey wolf
has been eradicated in the lower
Changing habitat: The steady
transformation of woodlands, into farms
and suburban developments, has
made ideal habitat for deer. They
thrive where there are lawns, bird
feeders, vegetable gardens, and
ornamental plants and trees.
High Fertility: Deer reproduce at
very high rates. Females can give birth
in their first year. A controlled study at
the George Preserve (U. of Mich.)
showed that a population of 6 deer
became 160 deer in five years! The
growth curve after that goes
exponential (see chart, below).
What can be done?
Any population solution must
maintained over the long-term.
Deterrents like fencing and repellants
do not address the larger issue.
Contraceptives for free-moving deer
herds are not legal in Michigan—
neither is trap and release.
Sterilization is an expensive option
(>$1000/deer) and difficult to
administer to free-moving herds. It
does not change the current
population, just the growth curve.
Culling the deer herd reduces the
population, directly lessening the
impact to forest and garden.
This conversation can be difficult for
communities as deer are beautiful
animals, but the environmental,
health, and social impacts from deer
overpopulation are too great to ignore.