Hunting possible fix for too many deer


East Lansing officials are looking at ways to control the rising deer population after hearing complaints from residents that the woodland creatures are venturing into neighborhoods and causing damage.

This has sparked conversation among city council members about ways to control the deer population in East Lansing, and at last week’s work session, council members briefly discussed the idea of allowing bow hunting within city limits.

Officials are in the process of putting together a survey asking residents about their experiences with deer, Environmental Services Administrator Catherine DeShambo said. The survey then will be provided to the city council for review.

The problem could be a reoccurring one; a similar survey conducted last year showed deer created problems for residents in almost every area of the city.

Councilmember Kathy Boyle, who lives in Red Cedar neighborhood, said the increase in deer in her neighborhood is noticeable to her neighbors as well.

“There are more deer than there used to be, there’s no question (about) that,” Boyle said. “I know they ate my hosta (plant), but I don’t know if that’s any great risk or danger to my community.”

Fisheries and wildlife professor Henry Campa said it isn’t uncommon to see a rise in the deer population during this time of year, especially in East Lansing where there are ample places for deer to live.

One of these places is the abandoned Red Cedar golf course, which is the perfect place for deer to roam, Campa said.

“For one, it’s a lot of open green space so they’re not going to be disturbed a lot,” Campa said. “Given the fact it used to be a golf course … (deer have) an excellent food source, especially this time of year to build fat to help them get through the winter.”

The decision is still in the earliest stages of discussion at City Hall, Boyle said, and there will be more information in the months to come.

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