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Deer on the run

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published October 28, 2015

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Be on the lookout for deer this fall, according to members of the city’s Deer Management Advisory Committee. 

“This is the peak season for deer to be moving around,” Jim Kubicina, DMAC chair, said during an Oct. 21 presentation to the Rochester Hills City Council.  “Please watch for them, for safety’s sake.

“Deer crashes are mainly on the county roads — Adams, Tienken, Walton and Avon,” he said. “It seems like there is a lot of deer in those areas surrounding Oakland University, which is kind of like a paradise for deer.” 

Rochester Hills currently has a deer feeding ban, and DMAC has initiated education and signage for residents and motorists. The city has an ordinance preventing the feeding of wild animals other than birds, intended to reduce the travel patterns of deer from their natural habitat into neighborhoods, where feeding stations and bait piles are provided, prompting the deer to cross roads and cause crashes.

According to the Michigan State Police, Michigan sees almost 50,000 deer/car crashes every year, and the state’s deer herd population is currently at 2 million. The most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or a fixed object, or when their vehicle rolls over.

To help avoid a crash, motorists should stay alert for deer. If a crash is unavoidable, drivers should not swerve but should brake firmly while holding the steering wheel, bringing the vehicle to a controlled stop. And people should remember to buckle up, as seat belts are a motorist’s best defense in the event of a crash, police said.

DMAC members also addressed deer in gardens.

“We will be happy to talk to residents about how they can deer-proof their yard,” Kubicina said.

“Members will talk to residents, go out to their yard with options,” said Rochester Hills Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hartner. “You have to try a number of things that work for your yard. Fencing is always a possibility.”

Hartner urged residents to visit the city’s website, www.roches, for information about gardening with deer in mind. The site lists commercial and homemade deer repellents, along with deer-resistant plants.

He praised members of DMAC, who are always looking for solutions to the problems connected with a rising deer population.

“That group works year-round,” Hartner said. “There is no easy answer anyplace in the country. We are looked at as one of the progressive communities.”

“The deer still present a challenge,” Rochester Hills City Councilman Adam Kochenderfer said. “It is still an issue that is out there and one we need to keep an eye on.”