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Monday, January 25 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Resolving Deer-Human Conflicts Within The Suburban Setting of East Lansing

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AUTHORS: Sarah Plantrich*, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Jordan Burroughs, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Henry Campa III, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Catherine DeShambo, City of East Lansing; Tim Wilson, USDA Wildlife Services

ABSTRACT: Many suburban areas within Michigan and across the country experience deer-human conflicts, and East Lansing, Michigan is no exception. As a city’s population increases, expanding development often encroaches on wildlife habitat. White-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus populations in these areas, therefore, become part of the suburban landscapes thereby increasing the potential for conflicts between deer and residents. Managing deer in suburban landscapes is often more challenging than managing deer in rural landscapes due to the diversity of stakeholders and their values, diversity of cover types available to deer, and options to lower deer numbers. In 2011, City of East Lansing officials began taking proactive steps to address their deer issues by surveying residents’ perceptions and attitudes regarding deer management, passing ordinances to ban deer feeding, collecting data on local deer-vehicle accidents, mapping areas with high deer conflict, and ongoing dialog and education efforts. A 2011 online survey of 200 residents revealed that 60% of respondents were concerned about deer numbers. Deer-vehicle collisions, damage to landscaping and park ecosystems, and herd health were among top concerns. Half of the respondents indicated their landscaping had been damaged by deer. In 2015, East Lansing officials consulted with USDA Wildlife Services to determine a minimum deer population estimate. With an increasing amount of deer-human conflicts, officials decided to initiate a deer removal plan. Before an official plan could be finalized, 3 cases of chronic wasting disease were discovered in an adjacent area, resulting in the forced removal of over 500 deer. Further study will show how reducing deer numbers may affect human-deer conflicts. Conflict resolution and achieving the desired outcomes of residents and city officials are key factors in suburban deer management. We will provide an overview of the East Lansing deer management and stakeholder engagement efforts to date.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Vandenberg A