University of Michigan-Dearborn starts deer cull on campus

A University of Michigan-Dearborn sign (WDIV)

DEARBORN, Mich. – Sharpshooters have begun the process of culling dozens of deer in a forest on a university campus in the Detroit area in a bid to reduce health and other risks the animals pose.

The deer cull began at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Saturday and will continue through March 6, the Detroit Free Press reported. The aim is to reduce deer numbers from 86 to 36 in the 300-acre forest, a university environmental study area.

Sharpshooters are using rifles with silencers and, for safety reasons, will only shoot from elevated positions with guns pointed down, according to university spokesperson Ken Kettenbeil. More than 400 residents live nearby.

A statement from the school on Tuesday said the objective was to “protect ... biodiversity … to help reduce health risks ... due to tick exposure and to reduce car-deer collisions near campus.”

The university considered alternatives, including relocating deer, but concluded other methods either wouldn’t work or weren’t permitted.

It is the third cull of deer by the university in recent years. There were others in 2015 and 2018.