Snipers recently killed 80 deer at Kensington Metro Park in Milford after a 1-year break in the program due to threats.
The Huron-Clinton Metro Administration has released a report on the renewal of the deer population on March 10 with deer culling figures for the 2022 season, stating that 330 deer have been removed in seven parks.
Daniel Mauter, head of metro park marketing and communications, wrote in an email that the 2022 culling went smoothly after last year’s planned culling in Kensington was canceled due to threats. Authorities subsequently overestimated the program and released a study in which it was determined that deer culling is still the most effective deer management strategy.
“We believe this is a successful program,” Mauter said. “Metro parks continue to focus on responsible wildlife conservation and ecosystem management that supports wildlife, including providing healthy, thriving deer herds, in our 13 unique parks.”
The metro management is committed to following the recommendations of the Department of Natural Resources to maintain a population density of 15-20 deer per square mile to maintain livestock health as well as conserve local plants.
In recent culls, deer have been killed in seven megaparks: 61 in Stony Creek, 28 in Indian Springs, 32 in Hudson Mills, 16 in Willow, 70 in Oakwood and 43 on Lake Erie.
The deer management program in the parks has been running since 1999, but not without controversy. Residents protested in the early years of the seizure, and the community expressed its anger after a rare albino was killed in the Kensington seizure nearly 10 years ago.
Mauter said that the park authorities do not monitor albino animals, and the DNR does not give such animals special protection. However, special care has been taken to avoid killing an albino who is known to live in Kensington.
“Adjustments have been made to the hunting grounds to significantly minimize the likelihood of exposure to any known albino deer,” Mauter said. “Although state laws do not protect these deer specifically, Metroparks staff understand that this unique animal is enjoyed by many visitors, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. And our staff has taken every precaution to avoid it during culling.”
She said that in none of the parks during this year’s selections of albino deer were caught.
Aerial studies before culling found that Kensington’s herd was about 56 deer per square mile.
The 80 deer selected in the Kensington selection resulted in 2,263 pounds of venison transferred to food cans. This year the metro administration has donated 9,567 pounds of venison to the state food banks.
Since the program was launched in late 1999, 1,108 deer have been culled in Kensington.
For more information on the deer herd management program and ecosystem, visit www.metroparks.com/natural-resources/#DOCUMENTS.
Contact correspondent Susan Bromley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-281-2412. Follow her on Twitter @ SusanBromley10.