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Grand Haven considering deer cull to address overpopulation

File: Deer crossing road in Michigan
Photographer: Dwight Burdette
Wikimedia Commons
File: Deer crossing road in Michigan

The last time they were counted about 150 deer were living on 200 acres of forest land in Grand Haven. The DNR says there is only enough food and habitat to support half a dozen deer there, and the city wants to reduce the herd

“The deer are so hungry they are migrating into city neighborhoods where they come into contact with cars and people. Management is necessary.”

Using a 20 animals per square mile DNR formula Grand Haven Forest Management Subcommittee member Jean Madden says they city’s 200 acres of forest can only support a half dozen deer.

“The biological carrying capacity for deer in grand haven is between 6 and 7”

Which council member Karen Lowe thinks is a small number.

“I am supportive of a much more aggressive management of that population, I just don’t know if I’ve totally bought into the target of 6 to 7 deer.”

And Forest Management Subcommittee member Jim Mathews agrees reducing the deer to a half dozen may be unrealistic.

“We don’t need to get to 6 or 7. We have to come up with a number. How much will the city tolerate.”

The hungry deer are wiping out native plant species, carrying ticks that cause Lyme Disease and colliding with cars. The subcommittee recommends using a drone to count the deer and hiring professionals to regularly harvest the herd.

“There are real threats to human health.”

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