Park May Hire Sharpshooters For Deer

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

It's a backyard view most people would cherish, but the baby deer in the back of Jeanine Mathein's house on Probert Road are the same ones who are chewing through her garden.

"They are lovely animals but we're not happy to have them," she says.

A DNR study of the 2 square miles around Ella Sharp Park in Jackson says there are somewhere between 200 and 300 of them there. DNR says 40 deer would be appropriate.

"Because of that, the deer are no longer a nuisance. They are a public safety issue," Ella Sharp Park superintendent Eric Terrian says.

Summit Township, which borders the park, reports of 541 total accidents there last year, more than a third were deer-related. After years of complaints, and months of debate, the probable solution is hiring sharp shooters.

"We're not looking to eradicate the deer. All we want is to get the deer back to acceptable levels," Terrian says.

The specifics are not in place, but the park board voted last week to move forward on a plan to hire professionals. Neighbors, for the most part, overwhelmingly agree.

"They are beautiful animals and I hate to see them die but in the long run, I think it's better," Mathein says.

"They don't bother us," runner Joe Page says, of the deer.

Park regulars like Page we spoke with don't feel the need as urgently like neighbors, but also don't oppose the plan to kill deer.

It would need approval from Summit Township, city of Jackson, and the DNR before Ella Sharp Park can put deer sharp shooting in its "cites."

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  • by Pam Location: Jackson on Aug 17, 2007 at 09:50 AM
    A controlled hunt is the quickest and most humane method of deer control. For those who want to relocate them, how will it be paid for? Jackson county did that with 70 horses and that would end up costing the county $200,000 before it is over.
  • by Maggie Location: DeWitt on Aug 17, 2007 at 06:24 AM
    Killing is not an option! This is a disgusting idea - to kill a living thing because of your garden - COME ON!!!! WWJD?
  • by Rick Location: Stockbridge on Aug 16, 2007 at 09:57 PM
    As someone who lives in a rural area, that has too many deer already, I can tell all of you folks that want to see them relocated,"Get real!" All you'll be doing, is the same thing that you do when you live trap raccoons and turn them loose somewhere make them someone elses problem. But, it makes you feel better. Isn't that nice. Not only will you pay to relocate them, but you'll pay more for your car insurance, and risk the lives and well being of others, so that your bleeding hearts don't have to face reality. In my neighborhood, driving down the road is like running the gauntlet. Even worse when you're on a motorcycle. We had a guy get killed a couple of miles away just 2 months ago. And I got pretty busted up last year myself (I will add that I've been riding for 35 years, so I'm no kid being stupid). I say if there are too many, kill them. Where the meat goes is often negotiable in the contract with the professional team. It often goes to shelters and kitchens.
  • by Russell Location: Parma on Aug 16, 2007 at 05:35 PM
    As an avid Bow Hunter with no place to hunt I feel it would benefit the county to open it for bow hunting.
  • by Katie Location: Pleasant Lake on Aug 16, 2007 at 01:31 PM
    The park operators must have known about the deer if there is this many. They should have been taking steps to thin them out a long time ago. My dad hunts in an area where they hardly see any deer why can't they just relocate them to more densely populated areas and help the hunters make a kill? Michigan just seems to keep putting itself deeper and deeper into a hole. Will we ever get out?
  • by Cheryl Location: Brooklyn on Aug 16, 2007 at 12:22 PM
    Why can't they relocate the deer?
  • by LegallyRad Location: Lansing - Formerly Jackson on Aug 16, 2007 at 10:02 AM
    Vickie, wow. Didn't you just say in the story about the rain gardens that you would "never go or shop downtown" yet then here you are complaining about urban sprawl and tearing down forest areas? Do you even have a position or not? My suggestion back would be that maybe if we revitalized the downtown areas and protected the natural resources available to them (ie the river through rain gardens) it would be unnecessary to have people having to tear down the forest areas so that you can get your toilet paper for five cents cheaper a large wal-mart. Rob, to answer your question about hiring professionals, Sharp park is in the city and a very populated area. It would be wanton and reckless to allow every elmer fudd to shoot guns in that area. The risk of injury to person or property would be ridiculous.
  • by Vickie Location: Lansing on Aug 16, 2007 at 07:21 AM
    If they would stop tearing down the forest area's for the animals, the deer would not have to come into town. Developments are going up all over, yet you see hundreds of houses for sale that people cannot afford anymore, yet we continue to build single family homes, who can afford a 150-200 thousand dollar home. AND, the new ones are sitting vacant. What a mess Michigan is in.
  • by william Location: lansing on Aug 16, 2007 at 06:46 AM
    Relocate the deer. No sense of having professional Bambi slayers shooting them, because one day they(the deer)may wind up in your next hamburger at your favorite drive thru or restauerant
  • by Robb Location: Lansing on Aug 16, 2007 at 05:21 AM
    Wow, pay a professional to thin the herd. Hmmm.. I thought Michigan had a thing called "Deer Season". You know, when our woods look more like pumpkin patches with orange hunters. I can save the tax payers in that area a lot of money. Do a lottery to determine who can hunt the area and allow the hunters to hunt it like most other municipalities do when trying to thin the herd of a specific area. This way the meat goes to feed a family rather than filling a dump.
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