‘Deer Doctor’ to visit Ann Arbor virtually in April

HSHV to host free, online seminar through Zoom

Deer (Pixabay)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Are deer already getting into your garden?

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 17, Sandy Baker will present a free seminar through Zoom entitled “How to Deer Proof Your Garden,” for Ann Arbor area residents.

Hosted by the Human Society of Huron Valley, the hour-and-a-half presentation will include solutions to deer-related challenges and a customizable 5-step plan for using nature to keep garden plants safe.

Known as the “Deer Doctor,” Baker is an author, conservationist and consultant to the Humane Society of the United States. She has presented deer-proofing seminars around the United States, educational programs and backyard consultations.

“We are delighted to host the nationally acclaimed ‘Deer Doctor,’” says Tanya Hilgendorf, CEO and president of the Humane Society of Huron Valley. “We’ve heard from so many folks who love the deer and want to co-exist peacefully with wildlife. And even for those who don’t like deer, there are many inexpensive and ecological-friendly tools folks can use without resorting to shooting.”

The seminar is free and open to the public. Join the guestlist here.

The city of Ann Arbor has spent $750,000 on deer management since 2015, when the Ann Arbor City Council approved a four-year deer management plan, according to the HSHV.

Referring to a vendor payments list from the City, the humane society said that $469,700 of the amount spent was for contracted sharpshooters who count the deer population annually.

A 2020 aerial survey found 137 deer in the city, a drop from 224 deer in 2019, HSHV said.

“We applaud the City for their website encouraging non-lethal solutions. And we hope the expensive and ineffective culls don’t return,” said Hilgendorf in the release.

“Scientists and wildlife biologists confirm that Ann Arbor does not have an overpopulation of deer. And now that we’re approaching year 6 of a 4-year plan, we’ve seen that trying to shoot away the problem is expensive, ineffective, controversial, unsafe, and inhumane. The problem is that there are some deer in places that some don’t want them. The most effective and inexpensive way to address concerns is through site-specific mitigation.”

When the City surveyed approximately 2,200 residents in 2015, just over 900 residents reported deer damage to their garden plants or landscape. Within those responses, 700 reported not taking deer-preventative measures and 73% stated their enjoyment of seeing deer in Ann Arbor, HSHV said.

“We want to help. The push for culling originally came from frustrated gardeners. With better education and strategy we can help those who are experiencing frustration, prevent further frustration, and save the City taxpayer money so that it can be directed where the majority of Ann Arborites really want it to go,” said Hilgendorf.

“We also believe our community and our public officials have way bigger priorities over an expensive and highly controversial deer cull.”

Hotly debated within Tree Town, the 2020 winter deer cull was temporarily dropped from the city budget as part of budget reduction for the next fiscal year.

Those interested in the free seminar with the “Deer Doctor” can visit hshv.org/gardenwithdeer.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.