Michigan Votes to Cut Back on Deer Sterilization in Favor of Hunting

The Michigan state legislature voted last month to suspend the issuance of new permits for deer sterilization, a controversial method adopted by the city of Ann Arbor to control its growing urban deer population.

Deer sterilization is an expensive process, and it might not even work. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Clinton & Charles Robertson)

“Why do we need deer sterilization in the first place when we have sportsmen who are fully capable of managing our deer species?” said Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, who sponsored the legislation. “This is a wonderful opportunity for urban residents to learn about quality deer management and the benefits of hunting to the entire state.”

The bill – HB 5321 – allows Ann Arbor’s current deer sterilization contractor to fulfill its three-year agreement, but prohibits the state from issuing new permits to towns and cities until at least April 1, 2022. In the intervening years, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission will study the effectiveness of sterilization in controlling Ann Arbor’s deer population.

HB 5321 also allows “urban areas with a high concentration of deer” to increase the number of tags issued within special “deer management zones.” Within these zones, local governments can also shorten the 150-yard minimum distance hunters must be from a building to harvest game.

The bill passed the Senate 26-10, the House 67-42, and was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on December 19.

“The communities do not own the deer,” Cole said. “The deer are owned equally by everyone in Michigan.”

Ann Arbor introduced its deer sterilization program in 2016 to combat the growing deer herds within its jurisdiction. The city also hired “sharpshooters” to cull the herds, and the two programs together cost $370,000 in 2017, according to local media. In that year, the city sterilized 54 deer, a two-hour process that involves capturing the animal, anesthetizing it, removing its ovaries, and returning it back to the area where it was captured.

SEE ALSO: House Moves to Remove Gray Wolf from Endangered Species List

The program wasn’t popular among hunters, including Michigan native, hunter, and rock n’ roll icon Ted Nugent.

“What idiot could possibly need more proof that Michigan has lost its soul!” he wrote on Facebook in November of 2018 alongside an article describing the state’s sterilization efforts.

“The once great state of Michigan is now a laughingstock suburb of San Francisco s—hole hell,” he continued. “Downright embarrassing criminal abuse of power and corruption. Damn the liberals and Democrats all to hell.”

Other states have adopted deer sterilization as a way to control populations in areas that are prohibitive to firearm use. But studies suggest that the method does not effectively decrease deer herds, and urban areas have other options, like an urban archery season, to control its animal populations.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • gary January 10, 2019, 6:50 pm

    further proof states are not managing their natural resources for the people who live in them. I myself will never trust the states management of the deer herd again…I will trust what I know to be true, you can’t offer millions of antlerless tags and expect to see deer herds maintained…they will be decimated and only thrive in urban area’s where hunting is forbidden…and then as a tax payer pay some outside source to eliminate them to.

  • Dr Motown January 10, 2019, 9:07 am

    Thankfully, this got passed before our new lib governor got sworn in…she would’ve certainly caved in to his fellow tree huggers in Ann Arbor

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