Five reasons to speak up about deer cull

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By AGNES DOMASKA

OU Alumna

Residents for safe Deer Management-Rochester Hills

The deer kill in Rochester Hills has started!

Every

Wednesday, for three weeks in a row, snipers from the Oakland County

Sheriff police department have been killing deer at the Environmental

Education Center located at Avon and Livernois roads. The shootings

have taken place at rush hour (starting around 6 p.m.), just a few feet

away from bumper to bumper traffic and close to subdivisions. No

streets were secured; no neighbors were alerted to stay at home.

Since

last July, numerous efforts have been made by residents to persuade the

mayor and city council to stop (or at least postpone) the kill and give

alternatives a try. Residents worked with different communities and did

extensive research and analysis of deer-vehicle crash data to offer

city officials a comprehensive packet with information on why culling

is a bad idea and available alternatives. Many residents have contacted

city officials, signed petitions and attended several city council

meetings to express their opposition and offer their time and expertise

to form a committee with the city and work together toward better

solutions.

A business owner had offered to donate more than

$20,000 to cover the cost and installation of two miles of deer

reflectors (which have proven effective in reducing deer-vehicle

crashes in other communities), as well as free expert services to

oversee the installation and fundraising to cover additional areas.

Unfortunately, the council turned down this and all other proposals.

There are five good reasons to stop the culling:

1.

Unsafe — Culling in densely populated areas is a safety hazard for

residents, their families, their animal companions and other wildlife.

Stray bullets can travel miles. Accidents involving the police force in

a culling operation have happened in nearby communities such as Flint.

Wounded or frightened deer jumping into traffic could cause an

additional hazard, and they already have according a resident that

spoke at a recent city council meeting.

2. Ineffective ­— Deer

culling has been proven to be an ineffective method of deer herd

reduction. Remaining deer have less competition and more food. They

quickly adapt and become stronger, resulting in increased reproduction

rates (called Compensatory Rebound Effect). A one-year cull will become

a never-ending annual slaughter.

3. Unnecessary — Significant

reduction of deer-vehicle accidents can be achieved with a combination

of non-lethal methods such as reflectors, improved signage, speed limit

reduction, proper landscaping of road sides, improved lighting, etc.

implemented in high accident areas.

4. Inhumane — There is

evidence proving some of the Rochester Hills animals suffered a long

agonizing death (see SafeRochester on youtube.com).

5. Costly

— Communities where culling has been implemented have become direct

contributors to deer overpopulation and have spent years and hundreds

of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on a vicious circle of

killing that has failed to significantly reduce deer-vehicle crashes.

It’s

true a comprehensive package of solutions is necessary to reduce

deer-vehicle accidents. We commend the city on enacting a feeding ban

and starting an education outreach program.

However, culling

has no place in this plan. Non-lethal methods that don’t create an

additional safety hazard to residents, such as the reflectors, have

proven to be successful in reducing accidents.

We need your

help! Please urge city officials to try the reflectors and other

non-lethal alternatives before allowing the cull to continue.

Write

letters to Mayor Bryan K. Barnett at [email protected],

city council at [email protected] and Sheriff Michael

Bouchard at [email protected]

For more information and to get

involved, please contact us at [email protected] Let’s protect

our city, its residents and our cherished wildlife!