Social, economic and personal reasons to support a cull in Ann Arbor

There was a good turnout for the public meeting (April 16); with majority of public who spoke in favor of culling the deer. Here are my public comments, if interested. Thank you for reading (it is not too long):

Good Evening. My name is Erich Jensen. I live at 1820 Crestland near Stadium and Packard, well within the city limits in Ward 3. I have lived at the same house for 30 years and NEVER saw deer on/near my property until now. There have been 3 backyard sightings of 3-6 deer in the last 30 days. They enjoyed my tulips. They were on my patio.

I support the culling/eliminating deer within the city limits immediately for 3 main reasons, social, economic and personal.

First, I coordinate St Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church (on Washtenaw across from Tappan Middle School) sustainable garden which provides annually up to 200 lbs of fresh produce to Foundation Preschool each summer. This preschool serves children of at risk low income single head of household families. The deer have already decimated the food producing plants (blueberry, raspberry brambles) this winter, and the vegetables aren’t even planted yet. There are also several other garden plots maintained by other groups in my neighborhood who donate produce to those in need.

Second, as Washtenaw Master Gardener I work with a team of volunteers at Cobblestone Farms beautifying the historic house and the events barn gardens (i.e., weddings on Th, F, Sa and Su nearly every week outdoors from April to October). The brides and their mothers, in particular, appreciate the gardens for photo back drops and have said so. Jessica Black, the manager of these events, has stated that our work has increased revenues and bookings which have amounted to well over a hundred thousands of dollars for the city of Ann Arbor, on a property that is part of the park system (Buhr Park). The deer are present there, too. There is also a Project Grow garden on the property.

Lastly, I am converting my garden to higher percentage of native plants per Wildflower Association of Michigan influence to increase pollinators and refuge for other wildlife (insects, birds and butterflies) but not deer who are destroying these new plants.

Please consider a quick, humane, cost effective way of reducing the herds for their starving and safety sake, too. Thank you.

Deer sightings and wisdom

SEVEN deer in a row just strolled one by one into our backyard from Spruce St. (near the corner of Chestnut). They were moving slowly in single file, and look pretty emaciated. They are sampling our ground cover and woody shrubs, or sitting and resting while chewing cud. Earlier today we had only 3 or 4. We have generally enjoyed watching them, although they do some damage (particularly to hosts, woody shrubs and ground cover and some trees), but THIS is getting to be a bit much. I am slowly moving from against to leaning more in favor of culling.

Seven in my yard yesterday and then in the street about 5:00 p.m. (Londonderry) maybe the same crew

We had 4 (that I could see) yesterday.. one right on our deck peering in our sliding door… crew are eating bushes, ground cover, etc

something is eating the tops of my daffodils and tulips as they come up. could it be deer?

Deer don’t generally eat daffodils- hence a good option in this neighborhood. They love tulips – but usually wait til they are just about to bloom..

Deer Sightings, Ward 2

Yesterday, my neighbor came over complaining about the deer as well as a few other political games going on with the state.
She said, the day before, we had a herd of 9 deer, all clustered together in my front yard, eating in my front garden. And when I looked, sure enough, the first sprouts of my lilies are chomped down. Didn’t seem to touch the snowdrops or the starting Coltsfoot.

I told her we often see deer in her backyard. She concurred. Said this year they have even eaten her yucca. She said she is not going to plant anything in her back rock garden (which was lovely) this year, or anywhere else in her yard. She says she is going to go before the city’s Assessor’s Office and argue that she is loosing property value due to the deers and that her taxes should be lowered accordingly. I mentioned that we had been thinking the same thing.

She noted that the curb appeal of our homes are diminished, and that we will have more problem selling our houses, should we want to.

Yesterday evening we had a herd of 6 deer in our yards.
It was dusk, so the video is not great, but here they are; six of them in my neighbor’s yard and mine.

We deserve, as does everyone else experiencing the deer invasion, a solution

From Barbara S., Ward 2

Here I go again. This morning I was having breakfast by myself, while 7 deer were having breakfast together in my back yard. I wish I could have sent a picture. Those that weren’t eating were lying down, as they probably were full.

I cannot tell you how angry and frustrated I am. I have lived in this house for 17 years, and have enjoyed the house, neighborhood, and the beauty of my yard with a wonderful wooded area behind it. I cannot say that is true any more. I have put hundreds of dollars into “Liquid Fence” and thousands of dollars into plantings. I felt great pride in what I accomplished as a single person living in Ann Arbor Hills. That is no longer true, and hasn’t been now for many years.

The deer population has increased by leaps and bounds, and the lovely green area around my house has decreased. It is a daily occurrence, and I am sick and tired of action not being taken and only talked about. Unfortunately, this year I will not invest in plantings, and certainly will miss looking at what I have enjoyed most about the spring and summer months. My bird feeders have been knocked down, and they are brazen enough now to even come on my deck. I didn’t get a dog as I did not want the responsibility of cleaning up after it. Can you imagine what a herd of deer are doing in my yard!!!!!!!

I don’t want to continue sending messages to you, you know the problem now and where I live. I feel very helpless and would like some feedback as to when action will be taken, and taken in this area. This neighborhood is made up of very expensive homes and taxes. We deserve, as does everyone else experiencing the deer invasion, a solution, and SOON.

Stories on Lowell Road, March 3, 2015

lowell1Seven deer this morning. They’re around in the morning and evening, sometimes joined by as many as 10 others. Burlap is covering a native tree, replanted after last year’s newly-planted trees were eaten to the ground.

lowell2The deer are very tame and curious. Here we’re looking at each other through the living room window

lowell3The deer come to Newport Creek, which runs along the property. There have been as many as 17 deer here.

Deer droppings are everywhere.
lowell6This is how deer browse looks. This chewing has taken away this spring’s blossoms on the kousa dogwood, one of the shrubs termed “rarely eaten” on the deer lists. The dogwoods, planted 10 years ago, had reached beautiful proportions, however this winter the deer have reduced their size by about half and chewed off most of what would have been the flower buds.

lowell7Along the property line, the neighbor’s Green Giant arbor vitae, sold as “deer resistant,” are skeletons. From the Washington Post article titled Fewer and fewer plants are truly deer-resistant, Joel M. Lerner, gardening columnist, February 19, 2011. “Deer are pests that eat arborvitae, but green giant arborvitae is the only one that I’ve planted that has not been damaged by deer. They will taste it but apparently don’t like the flavor.” Apparently Ann Arbor deer DO like the flavor.

lowell8Across the street, neighbor Warren, wintering in Florida, will be surprised that deer have taken off the tops of his spreading junipers. Everything that used to be poking up through the snow has been stripped.

lowell9Back in January, a neighbor took a photo of deer in Warren’s yard. He sent the photo to neighbors and to Sabra Briere. Note the snow “mushrooms” which are burlap-wrapped yews. Warren wrote: “I burlap-wrapped the 22 yews in my front yard for the winter. These past five years the deer have “trimmed” off all the new growth, so I might not be able to save them.”

lowell21The snow-topped burlap wrappings of 21 of his yews are still in place, but one has lost its covering. That one is considerably smaller than the others, completely denuded of any needles.

lowell22 how the tree looks with nary a needle.

lowell23Here are the deer tracks around the yew.


lowell24As I left Warren’s yard, I paused to take a photo of these arbor vitae. They are eaten up to the line that deer can reach, just a little short of the eaves on the garage.

Deer in the Urban Landscape

From a 2008 article, subtitled Coping with the deer by the use of deer resistant plants.

by Forrest W. Appleton
Parson’s Archive Assistant Answer Man
Retired certifed nursery professional, Bexar County Master Gardener

Many of us who live in the suburbs must share our environment with the native wildlife. For the most part, we can live in harmony with these creatures and derive considerable pleasure from their presence. At times the squirrels can cause great exasperation as we try to keep them out of the bird feeders and fruit and nut trees but the entertainment they provide as they frolic about the yard offsets any inconvenience they cause. We may speak harshly of the occasional skunk, possum or armadillo when they dig holes in our lawns as they search for grubs. And that pesky roadrunner seems to always have one of our insect eating anole lizards in his beak.

However, none of these critters seems to cause irreparable damage. The one that brings to bear serious heartburn though is the whitetail deer. Their natural ability to assimilate themselves into the residential community is exacerbated by those who delight in putting out food to attract them into their yards.

This graceful animal has absolutely no respect for the property of his human neighbors and possesses great athletic ability, making it difficult if not almost impossible to preclude its presence. They leap six-foot fences with ease. They come under the cover of darkness to determine what new delicacies have appeared since their last visit and I can not help but believe that they take the greatest of pleasure in nipping off the almost open buds of tomorrow’s blossoms.

Much has been written and said about what the serious gardener can do to lessen the impact of the deer in his landscape. This usually includes a listing of those plants which deer are not supposed to like and the unqualified statement that repellents exist to fend them off your prized plants. I have found these writings and proclamations to be of little value to the person who is trying to put some variety into his landscape and do his share to improve the beauty of his surroundings. At the end of this article I will list those plants which I, through trial and error, have found to be least bothered by the deer.

The physical damage caused by the deer by means other that browsing is something that is seldom addressed by either those who would have us believe that the deer are a definite plus in our communities or by the horticultural experts as they dispense their advise. No small tree or shrub is safe from the buck that is rubbing the velvet from his antlers or marking his area. They not only cause breakage, but will rub the bark completely off a plant, girdling it and causing its eventual death. The only protection that I have found to be effective is to place an unsightly cage of fencing or concrete reinforcing mesh around the plant. Since I usually install small plants, this means a lengthy period of eyesores in the landscape.

This article is not meant to be a complete condemnation of the deer. They are, no doubt, here to stay. My main purpose is to pass on those things with which I have had some success. I have had good luck with most of the gray leaf plants, those with highly fragrant foliage, all of the salvias and most of the lantanas. Here is the listing of the plants which the deer do not seem to like well enough to severely damage by eating. However this list must be caveated like others I have seen; deer can’t read and when they are hungry, they will eat almost anything.

He then continues on to list plants that he finds are deer resistant — and thrive in the Texas weather.

This article an others an deer-resistant plants can be found on the website under Deer Management Topics

Deer Destruction and Danger

In addition to being very concerned about the fact that deer often give birth in my yard– thus endangering the three little girls next door as well as my dog, I am also increasingly frustrated about the destruction to my yard.

Twenty eight years ago, I planted a yew hedge across the front of our two lots. The night before we left in January, there were four deer eating this hedge. They have already destroyed greenery which was planted to hide the tennis court and destroyed probably 10 -15 yews and other greens in my back yard which we pulled out last spring. Red twig dogwood, a dogwood tree, trillium, hosta, etc. have also been eaten.

Who wants to –or can afford to continue to re-landscape? Who wants to live in a neighborhood where one’s yard in constantly under assault? Perhaps we can get permission to built higher fences in the back but won’t it be sad to see all of the front yards destroyed for lack of another deterrent? The city planning department allowed a 19 foot high garage to be built one foot from our property line but I can’t grow evergreens to hide this building in my back yard!!

Would Tanya and her group believe that I should remove thousands of dollars worth of evergreens in order to plant boxwood because they are not as tasty to the deer? The problem with that is that the harsh winter last year also destroyed many of my boxwood. I find the ‘solutions’ to be poorly reasoned and unworkable. To see the yard which I planned and planted over almost three decades destroyed, is very upsetting.

Thus, I am saying again that there is an emotional as well as a financial cost to the deer problem. I wish those who want to protect the deer would give very, very exact descriptions of which foliage one should use and who will pay to remove the old and plant the new. I would also point out that sprays are totally impractical for those of us who are gone a lot. Perhaps those who think things are fine, might agree to a new tax which could be used to compensate those of us who are feeding the deer with our landscaping…..well we know that won’t happen:). I would like to see at minimum, a harsh fine for those who feed the deer.

-Sue C. Ward 1


November 2007, Deer Culling – A Critical Tool for Conserving Local Habitat Diversity: A Green Paper by the Bird Conservation Network

From 2007, but still very relevant

BCN is a coalition of 18 groups and organizations, representing many thousands of people who live throughout the Chicago region. Our members enjoy and value birds and the natural landscapes where we find them. Our coalition advocates and promotes the perpetuation and appreciation of the native bird species of the Chicago region, both resident and migratory. To achieve this purpose, we are not only advocates for the birds; we also strive to protect/enhance the habitats and ecosystems used by birds. BCN actively initiates, assists, and supports programs that seek to protect our native birds and the habitats they depend upon, and studies their interrelationships within the various habitats that occur within the Chicago region. I n this role, BCN partners with many of the major land managers throughout the Chicago area.
We offer this paper (1) to outline our concerns that habitat within forest preserves and other natural areas in the region are being adversely affected by widespread overpopulation of white-tailed deer, and (2) to recommend ongoing proactive efforts to reduce this deer overpopulation.

This paper can be found at

Other aspects of the danger of deer to birds can be found on our website at


Deer proliferation disrupts a forest’s natural growth

From, March 8, 2014

“It’s obvious that the deer are affecting the above-ground species, but it’s like an iceberg. There are major effects below the soil surface. We are seeing a divergence of seeds contained within the soil from what should be there,” says DiTommaso. “We are not seeing the seeds of woody plants. Instead, we’re seeing an escalation of non-native seed and the virtual elimination of woody plant seeds.”

Read more at, March 8, 2014

Or read the full article– Deer Browsing Delays Succession by Altering Aboveground Vegetation and Belowground Seed Banks