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Deer Culling to Take Place in Hudson Mills Metropark

By: Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com

On Dec. 26, 2017, the Western District Park Superintendent, Jeffrey Brown, sent out a letter to surrounding residents of the Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, MI.

The letter detailed the reduction of the deer population in the Metropark via a culling, or hunting and killing of animals as means of population control, on January 16 and 18.

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A cull is decided by counting deer from a helicopter when the ground is completely covered in snow. The number of deer is entered into a formula which accounts for factors such as deaths, births, sex ratio, etc. From this formula, the parks can estimate the deer densities. The target goal is 15-20 deer per sq./mi.

“Generally, especially at our large parks like Hudson Mills, this is an annual event,” said Ryan Colliton, manager of natural resources for the Metroparks. “Again, we are looking for stable populations so if deer numbers are greater than our 15-20 per sq./mi we will consider herd management.

“Deer management is necessary to conserve the natural ecosystems and their individual components of southeast Michigan.  The Metroparks goal is to maintain a balance between the deer population with the resources available in the parks,” added Colliton. “For example, a major impetus for the deer management was the loss of approximately 7 species from Stony Creek Metropark due to browsing by overpopulated deer herds.  As the Metroparks is home to approximately 87 federal or state protected species, it became clear that it was necessary to lower browse pressure if we were going to reduce or eliminate the loss of these species.”

Deer Management Assistance Permits were issued to the Huron-Clinton Metroparks by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and covers north of North Territorial Road, the West River Trail, south of Hudson Mills Golf Course, and within Hudson Mills Metropark.

No unauthorized personnel will be allowed in the aforementioned areas and the park will close at 4 p.m.

“I realize that closing the park during these culls may be an inconvenience to many of you, but we feel that it is the safest and most efficient way to manage this program,” said Brown in the letter sent to surrounding residents.

“Because the safety and security of our park patrons and adjacent property owners are of the utmost concern to us, all DNR rules are being met with the emphasis on the safety zone requirement of 450 feet.”

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