MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, MI - The Meridian Township Police department concluded their 2022 deer cull early after reaching their goal of 200 deer.
A surplus of deer traffic crashes and property damage in MeridianTownship has shown a need for deer management. According to Ken Plaga, Meridian Township Police Chief, the area has a number of hotspots of this nature. It is anticipated that the targeted culling of deers will help insure the safety of community members.
Similar to previous years, a considerable amount of venison from the deer cull was donated to local food banks. An estimated 4000 pounds is expected this year. Last year's cull, along with supplemental hunt, brought in over 7000 pounds of venison to food banks around the area.
“We view that as one of the benefits of it,” Sgt. Andrew McCready, Meridian Township Police Department, said. “People who are food insecure, we are able to hopefully give some relief on that.”
Hunting exceptions are granted to the Meridian Township Police Department during the deer cull. After applying for a nuisance permit through the DNR, the police department is able to make exceptions such as shooting deer at night and baiting deer.
To ensure safety, deer are baited to specific areas that have been previously examined. The police department takes extra measures by walking the grounds during daytime, setting up backstops, utilizing thermal cameras and posting warning signs.
“Sometimes there’s some confusion whether this is sporting or anything like that, it’s not and it’s not meant to be,” McCready said. “It’s meant to be a population control for the deer herd.”
The deer management program was first implemented in 2011 by the Meridian Township Park and Recreation Department. By the end of 2019 the township received a large number of complaints regarding property destruction, which led to the suggestion of a deer cull.
The Parks and Recreation Department then brought in biologists and members of the USDA Deer Cull team for expert opinions on how to approach the issue.
It is anticipated that the deer cull will occur yearly to maintain population control.