If the deer population in Michigan is getting too out of control in the state, a northern Michigan lawmaker wants hunters to do the job, not the Department of Natural Resources.

State Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, introduced a bill last week to prohibit the already rare practice of sterilizing deer as a way to keep the number of deer down across the state.

"I was a hunting guide, so I strongly support the use of sportsmen for this activity. They pay to help manage wildlife species and that’s the direction that I want to continue to see the DNR use," Cole said. "It’s the most cost-effective and efficient way to manage wildlife species, particularly in urban environments."

And it's a more humane way to control the population, he said.

"It’s a cruel way to deal with animals because of the stress of the tranquilization process," Cole said.

The DNR, at the request of the city of Ann Arbor, has issued a research permit to explore the effects of nonlethal (sterilization) and lethal (sharpshooting) techniques to manage the city’s deer population.

"The department does not typically rely on sterilization to manage deer populations," said Ed Golder, spokesman for the DNR, noting it is too early to determine whether the combined techniques of sterilization and a lethal means of killing the deer herd will prove effective.

The department is still studying the proposed legislation and has not taken a position on it yet.

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