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Muskegon commissioners to vote on deer cull Tuesday

A 2019 survey of residents in Beachwood and Bluffton showed more than 60 percent of residents want Muskegon to take some action.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A 2019 study conducted by Muskegon's Department of Public Works determined between 50 and 100 deer are in the city's Beachwood and Bluffton neighborhoods. 

The study was the result of complaints from residents about the growing number of deer damaging landscaping around homes.

"Damage to private property, damage to landscaping, over browsing the area," said Leo Evans, the city's Director of Public Works. "Having too many deer in an area can result in car-deer crash increases."

Tuesday afternoon Muskegon's City Commission is set to vote on a deer cull for those two neighborhoods. 

If approved, the cull would likely happen over four or five nights in February.

Evans says most of the deer are in wooded areas between Kruse and Beachwood Parks.

During morning and evening hours, those same deer feed on landscaping around homes.

EARLIER: Muskegon considering cull to reduce city's deer population

The 2019 survey of residents in Beachwood and Bluffton showed more than 60 percent of residents were in favor of the city taking some action.

The city is prepared to contract with the United States Department of Agriculture. Pending approval by commissioners, USDA sharpshooters would set bait stations in safe areas, record deer activity, study the herd's patterns, then systematically shoot and kill approximately 30 deer.

A damage and nuisance control permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) for Urban Deer Management is needed for the cull.

"We want to start with something small and see how successful that is before we decide that more is needed. Maybe 30 is enough. I think it will be a very good start if we're able to get that," Evans said.

The dead deer would be turned over to the non-profit group Sportsmen Against Hunger. The state group would cover the cost of having the deer process with the venison offered to Muskegon area food pantries, or food assistance programs.

The cull could cost the city between $12,000 and $20,000. 

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