City of Ann Arbor seeks volunteers for deer sterilization

The nonlethal sterilization of female deer will begin Jan. 2

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Last year, 16 local volunteers helped sterilize 54 deer in Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR - The city needs volunteers to assist in the darting and sterilization process of female deer starting next month.

For the second consecutive year, Robert (Bob) McGee is heading the volunteer group that oversee deer sterilization efforts. "Surgical sterilization is a proven solution to managing deer populations," he said. "Simply put, without ovaries, the does do not reproduce, yet live out their lives."

"My role (is) to not only organize and run the volunteer program but to also coordinate the darting, transport and recovery teams as well as the operating room and record data."

McGee spoke during Monday night's City Council meeting to call for volunteers. 

"Our volunteer teams are broken up into several teams and shifts," he said. "Starting Jan. 2, we'll be sterilizing deer from about 4 p.m. until 5 a.m. We usually run two shifts, six to seven hours each. We plan to go until Jan. 5, maybe the 6th depending on weather."

McGee said that volunteers are required to work two shifts, and added that food is provided.

He explained that only veterinarians perform the operations, but he is stationed in the operating room to assist in whatever way needed. Although vet techs are usually present to help prep the deer for the operation, sometimes volunteers are required to step in and help shave the deer's belly, place blood and oxygen monitors and start an IV, with assistance.

Volunteers assist in lifting and moving the deer, doing laundry, cleaning the operating room and observing the deer following surgery and upon release into the wild.

City officials say deer can be harmful to public parks (Pictured: Gallup Park)

He is working closely with the city's contracted sharpshooters White Buffalo Inc., who will be carrying out the darting of the does. Once a deer is darted, the sharpshooters call a volunteer crew to come to the location and pick up the deer.

If you would like to volunteer or have any questions, contact Bob McGee at 734-929-5911 or at

Read: The latest on Ann Arbor's upcoming deer cull

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