Meridian Township Begins Second, Expanded Deer Harvest

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Mike Lewis has lived in Meridian Township since 2004 and, like many others who live there, Lewis has seen his fair share of deer.

In fact, the last few years, the township's deer population has been out of control.

"In the wintertime, I'll have 20 to 30 deer in my backyard," said Lewis.

Jane Greenway, of Meridian Township's Parks and Recreation Department, has received plenty of calls from residents over the deer.

"Complaining about the deer eating their landscaping and numerous people in the households getting in car accidents," said Greenway.

To fight the overpopulation, Meridian Township began a deer harvest last October, taking 43 deer. This year, the township hopes to build on that number by doubling the number of properties available for hunting to 18 parks and land preserves. Hunters will station themselves well away from neighborhoods and trails for safety.

Meridian Township is also allowing hunters to take more than antler-less deer this year.

"We're doing a sort of earn-a-buck where they can take three antler-less deer and then, they are entitle to take an antlered deer," said Greenway.

45 hunters have signed up for the 2012 program. Lewis, who took six deer last year, is hoping to get even more this year to help make the township safer and because the program donates any meat after the first take to the Mid-Michigan Food Bank.

"I'd rather put venison in someone's freezer than see a deer come through someone's windshield," said Lewis.

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