Ovaries Removed in MI Deer Sterilization Plan

By Bow StaffFebruary 3, 20177 Comments

Deer management has risen to a new level as 54 deer in Ann Arbor, MI have had their ovaries surgically removed by veterinarians as part of the city’s deer sterilization management plan. The procedures took place in a makeshift operating room (maintenance shed) at the city-owned Huron Hills Golf Course from Jan. 22-29. This concluded the nonlethal phase of the city’s 2017 deer management plan.

The city-funded and state-permitted management plan was designed to sterilize 40-60 female deer and kill up to another 100 male and female deer this winter. This allows the city to maintain its original target range for the nonlethal phase of the plan.

Deer Sterilization

This makeshift operating room is where surgeries for deer sterilization took place. Stanton/Ann Arbor Times

Who Will Do the Deer Sterilization Work?

The City Council voted 9-2 in November to approve a $153,940 contract with Connecticut-based White Buffalo Inc. to carry out both phases of the deer sterilization management plan.

Deer that have been sterilized will be outfitted with an ear tag for future identification and monitoring.

In and excerpt from the Ann Arbor News, we see how and why this will work…

“The thinking is if the deer are spayed, their population numbers go down very slowly, 20 percent a year approximately, and the surrounding deer don’t invade,” said Steve Timm, a veterinarian from Wisconsin who served as lead surgeon and has worked with White Buffalo on similar projects in other communities.

“The physiology has not been proven,” Timm said. “We see some fawns on the ground after this. We do see some of the fetuses that are terminated, and they’re either absorbed or they’re passed.”

Tony DeNicola, president of White Buffalo Inc., said females are targeted for sterilization because deer are polygamous.

“Every male you miss has the potential to breed multiple females,” he said. “But more importantly, the males move much more broadly in the landscape. So, you would need to treat male deer over a very, very large area in order to prevent males from the perimeter from coming in and breeding with females. We’re showing males in Staten Island moving over four miles. So, if you’re not getting males in such a large area, you run the risk of those males constantly breeding the females. So, it’s a behavioral aspect of the species you’re working with.”

Deer surgery

Deer sterilization in progress. Stanton/Ann Arbor News

The next phase (lethal phase) of the deer management plan is now underway and will run through February 13th. Sharpshooters from White Buffalo Inc. will begin shooting up to 100 deer as part of this phase of the management plan. This will take place from elevated deer stands, ground blinds at bait piles, and stationary vehicles.

The following areas are closed from 3pm-midnight during this lethal phase of the deer management plan.

  • Bird Hills Nature Area
  • Bluffs Nature Area
  • Braun Nature Area
  • Cedar Bend Nature Area
  • Hilltop Nature Area
  • Huron Hills Golf Course
  • Huron Parkway Nature Area
  • Island Park
  • Kuebler Langford Nature Area
  • Leslie Park Golf Course
  • Leslie Woods Nature Area
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