Ann Arbor, MI (May 17, 2016) – Ann Arbor is home to over 114,000 residents and, according to the City’s recent aerial survey, about 136 deer in city limits—deer who are eating more than they should, according to some.
“As a community leader faced with the impact of deer damage in parks, yards, and gardens, and conflict among your constituents regarding an effective solution, you are not alone,” writes Sandy Baker, known nationwide as the “Deer Doctor” for her track record in helping communities solve their deer-related challenges.
Baker will be visiting Ann Arbor’s Traverwood Library Saturday, June 4. From 10:30 to noon, she’ll be presenting a free seminar entitled “How to Deer Proof Your Garden,” including a customizable 5-step strategy to working with nature to keep your plants protected. One key to planting success, she says, is understanding deer behavior.
“We are delighted to host the nationally acclaimed ‘Deer Doctor,’” says Tanya Hilgendorf, CEO and president of the Humane Society of Huron Valley. “We have a lot to learn as a community about how to co-exist peacefully with wildlife. There are many tools at our disposal without resorting to guns. As they say, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”
Ann Arbor city recently conducted an online survey on deer management, gathering responses from approximately 2,200 residents (~2% of the city’s population). Just over 900 residents reported deer damage to their garden plants or landscape, though nearly 700 respondents said they have not taken measures to prevent damage.
The city conducted its first deer cull this winter in Ann Arbor Wards 1 and 2, citing the majority of deer-related complaints came from those areas. “In stark contrast, residents from Wards 3, 4 and 5 reported far fewer negative interactions, and in many cases have had no interactions at all with deer,” the City’s May 2015 report indicated.
“The idea that we have an overpopulation of deer that threaten health and safety is a fear-based myth. Though data is limited, data to-date shows we do not have an overpopulation, and that the cull was ineffective at addressing the community’s issues. What we really have are deer in places that some residents don’t want them. It’s important for our community to realize that no matter what we do, urban deer are here to stay. Trying to shoot away the problem is expensive, ineffective, controversial, unsafe, and inhumane. The most effective and inexpensive way to address concerns is through site-specific mitigation,” says Hilgendorf.
Following the free workshop, Baker will be making a “house call” to the Ann Arbor Hills neighborhood to give site-specific advice. As per a city report, “Most residential concerns with deer have come from [Ann] Arbor Hills and Green Road/Glazier Way areas of the city.”
“Our goal is to help. The push for the cull came from frustrated gardeners. With better education and strategy we can help those who are experiencing frustration, prevent these frustrations and save both taxpayer money and community heartache,” says Hilgendorf.
The “Gardening with Deer” workshop is free and open to the public. Reservations recommended, as space is limited. For more information on the workshop and to reserve your space, go to hshv.org/gardenwithdeer. For more information on Sandy Baker, “the Deer Doctor,” see http://deerproofyourgarden.com.
About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:
The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website (hshv.org) and on our annual report (www.hshv.org/2014annualreport).
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