Approved deer cull will not affect campus

By Rory McCarty


Senior Reporter

Oakland University’s deer can find a safe haven on campus. Rochester Hills City Council approved a measure to use sharpshooters to thin out the city’s burgeoning deer population to prevent car collisions, starting this month.

The measure has sparked protests by groups such as Residents for Safe Deer Management who argue that the herd culling will be ineffective and guns firing inside the city will endanger citizens.

The council voted five to two in favor of the cull, which aims to eliminate 200 of the city’s approximately 1,000 deer. Last year, there were 219 reported crashes caused by deer in Rochester Hills.

However, Oakland University Police Chief Samuel Lucido said such collisions are rare on OU’s campus, due in part to lower speed limits and open spaces making deer more visible. He said he believes the deer don’t present a problem for the campus currently.

“Since I’ve been chief, there’ve only been a handful of incidents,” Lucido said.

Lucido also said that because OU is in a different jurisdiction from the rest of the city, OU grounds will be exempt from the deer cull. If the deer population began to present a problem, he said OUPD would consider taking action.

Rochester Hills plans to use Oakland County’s Special Response Team Sniper Unit to shoot deer with silenced rifles.

Alternate solutions for the deer problem include using reflectors and signs to deter deer from approaching roads and improving signs to warn motorists of deer crossing areas.

According to options outlined in a city council meeting, putting reflectors on roadsides would cost an estimated $28,600 per mile, while sharpshooting would “be handled at no additional cost,” at least for the trial year. The deer meat from the hunts will be donated to local food banks, according to the proposal.

The report also states that the herd culling will need to be repeated annually in order to maintain the population at previous levels.

The council voted last September to ban the feeding of deer and there is also a statewide ban for bating.

The sheriff’s office said they will not release the dates and times of the hunts, in order to protect Rochester Hills citizens and prevent opponents from sabotaging the effort.