MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - With deer archery season beginning on October 1st, so too will begin the Meridian Township Deer Management Program, a Township-wide initiative for a deer harvest.
The program, which serves the purpose of combating deer overpopulation in the Township behind issues such as damage to landscaping, vehicle/deer collisions, and ecological concerns, will return for its 11th year this fall, stretching from the beginning of hunting season on October 1 through January 1, 2022.
Steps to produce a harvest include the designation of 41 managed areas that comprise 2,340 acres, manned by 82 hunters that qualify and then are selected by the Township to archery hunt on the properties. During the program last year, 176 deer were harvested on 33 different Township properties.
“There’s a few good benefits about the program; number one, the main thing for us, is a lot less damage to the parks...when the deer are in there overbrowsing, you can’t get the regeneration of oak trees, or things like that. Another thing is that it reduces the deer-car collisions, harvesting the deer,” Township Senior Parks and Land Management Coordinator Jane Greenway said about the program.
Also added in recent years after the end of archery season was a police-led deer cull. Last year, the cull took place from January 15 to March 10, adding 150 deer that were harvested by Meridian Township police officers.
The Township also puts the harvested deer from both the Deer Management Program and police cull to good use, donating the venison to community food banks. Last year, 7,154 pounds of venison were given to 14 local organizations and 75 families in need as a result of the 326 deer harvested.
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