MUCC, DNR hold deer meeting at Meadow Brook

By Rory McCarty


Senior Reporter

In the basement ballroom of

Meadow Brook Hall Tuesday, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the

Department of Natural Resources hosted a forum for local citizens to

come forward and voice their concerns over deer management across

Michigan and in Rochester Hills.

In a nearby fireplace alcove, a stuffed and mounted buck’s head oversaw the proceedings.


Duling, Field Coordinator for MUCC, opened the meeting by explaining

that the deer management program was modeled after a program for bear

management that the DNR had done earlier in the year. While the DNR was

present at the event, no DNR representative spoke during the


Before opening up the floor to comments, Duling

stressed that everyone’s comment was going to be heard, but none of the

issues were going to be debated. “This is not a meeting to bash the

person next to you, or bash the DNR, or the MUCC,” he said.


of the audience members asked about the agencies that were represented

under the Michigan Deer Advisory Team that the MUCC helped create. The

advisory team will take the notes from the deer management meetings and

create a proposal to send to the Natural Resource Commission. However,

many of the agencies represented by the team are hunting organizations.

Questions were raised as to how agencies were chosen and how new groups

could join.

Duling said that the MUCC sent out invitations to

organizations they’ve worked with and asked if they’d become a part of

the team. As for new organizations joining the team, he said they would

need to contact Resource Policy Specialist Amy Spray.

One of the

first audience members the take up the microphone said that there

hasn’t been equal or adequate representation for those who wish to use

non-lethal methods of dealing with the deer. Another woman later added

that the culling method of dealing with the deer was ineffective due to

increased fertility rates among deer to compensate for the deaths.


also said the cull was dangerous to drivers. “During culling, drivers

are very much at risk because deer are running for their lives [into


Still other people were more concerned about the cull putting people at risk with guns being fired inside Rochester Hills.

“Yes, they’re controlled hunts, yes, there’ve been no accidents, but it’s just an accident waiting to happen,” one citizen said.


solution in dealing with the overpopulation of deer in Michigan

suggested the elimination of deer farms where deer are raised and sold,

usually to be hunted in a controlled atmosphere.


non-violent solutions to Rochester Hills’ deer problem included

long-term deer sterilization, reflectors for roadsides to repel the

deer, and new speed limit signage that can be changed at different

times of the day or year when the deer are more active.


hunters spoke out against the cull as well. One woman said she supports

hunting as a means of getting food, but she’s concerned about culling

in a populated area.

“I don’t want my dogs to be mistaken for deer,” she said.


clearly in the minority at the meeting, hunters in favor of the deer

cull spoke up as well. One man reminded everyone that the purpose of

the meeting was supposed to be for state-wide deer management and not

local issues, and then later said that he would like to see the DNR

“take a serious look at crossbows.”

After the meeting, Rochester

resident Michele Good said she was hopeful that the meeting would make

a difference in deer management in Michigan. “We’ve given them  better

ideas of some alternatives. I think we’ve opened up their eyes,” she


“I think they got some new ideas on what they’re going to

do,” Rochester Hills resident Mark Finch said. “What they do with those

ideas I don’t know.” He said, however, that he’d be surprised if

Rochester Hills reinstated the cull.