Ask ELi: What Is the Deer Cull Costing Taxpayers?

Print More

Gary Caldwell for ELi

A trio of deer in an East Lansing park.

In this issue of Ask ELi to Investigate, we answer an ELi reader’s questions about the City of East Lansing’s controversial deer cull, which is supposed to be going on now.

We love getting your questions answered! Is there something you want ELi to investigate? Submit your question here!

How much is the City paying for the deer cull and where do those funds come from?

According to East Lansing Parks and Rec Director Cathy DeShambo, the City’s “Cooperative Services Agreement with USDA Wildlife Services is for up to $19,500.16 this year, which is roughly what our agreement was for last year.”

Those funds come from the City’s General Fund, and DeShambo suggested that the final bill might actually be lower.

“[W]e only used approximately $6,000 last year as we completed the removal in just two nights,” wrote DeShambo to ELi. “We would expect to use more this year but still expect the total to be less [than $19,500].” 

DeShambo also reminded ELi that the City incurs no cost for “the processing of the venison because Michigan Sportsman Against Hunger covers the full cost of processing.” The meat is used to help those with food insecurities.

How many deer were found to have had wasting disease in last year’s cull?

None have been found to have chronic wasting disease. You can read more about that disease in this ELi report from 2019 by Paige Filice who was an ELi reporter when she was an MSU student and now works for MSU’s Ingham County Extension Office.

Will the cull continue as the City pivots to deal with the current Covid-19 case surge? If so, how many deer have been culled so far and where?

The City declined to give us any information on this, saying instead that they would make sure to share with us the final report on the cull. The City has been trying to avoid inflaming tensions around the deer cull out of concern there may be protests.

We will provide updates on the cull once we have more information. In the meantime, you can check out ELi’s most recent report on this year’s deer cull here.

Comments are closed.