The City of East Lansing’s deer cull has come to an end, resulting in the removal of 79 deer over the course of four evenings in January, according to a press release from the City.
The City’s permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had allowed for “United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services biologists highly trained in the use of firearms” to kill up to 100 deer by Mar. 31.
Last year, the City was initially issued a permit to cull 50 deer, but it “was revised for up to 70 deer based on the level of deer activity in the parks on the first night of the removal operations,” as noted in the press release from January 2021.
As was the case with last year’s cull, the culled deer were processed for free by Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger and sent to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. This year’s cull yielded 2,400 pounds of venison, according to the City.
With the cull complete, the City will no longer intermittently close parks in the evenings, a step taken to make sure no one was in the park while USDA shooters culled the deer.
As ELi reported earlier this year, deer culls have remained controversial among East Lansing residents.
Speaking in December, Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg said that the City was taking measures, including shutting down multiple parks even if only one was going to be used for culling, to “obfuscate” potential protestors.
Residents whose properties abut Henry Fine Park wrote City Council to request that the City reconsider the cull and resident wildlife rehabber and founder of Nottingham Nature Nook Cheryl Connell-Marsh spoke out against the cull at a City Council meeting
East Lansing’s Park and Recreation Advisor Cathy DeShambo recently told ELi that the cull was being carried out in consideration of quality of life concerns for East Lansing residents.
In explaining why the City focuses on quality-of-life concerns, she referenced “a deer running through an open door into a home and ravaging the home’s interior trying to escape, as has happened to one of our residents this past year.”
This morning’s press release noted these quality of life concerns, stating, “These removal operations were conducted to address deer overpopulation in the East Lansing community, which has resulted in a variety of deer-human conflicts, including a current average of more than 40 deer-vehicle accidents per year, public health concerns, a disruption to the ecological balance of natural areas and damage to landscaping,” read the press release.
The City will continue to gather community feedback, track deer herds, and monitor deer-related motor vehicle accidents.