The city of Rochester Hills has begun placing temporary electronic signs with the message “High Deer Crash Area, Use Caution” in hot spots for deer across the city, like this one on Adams Road, near Dutton Road. The temporary electronic signs accompany permanent deer crossing signage throughout the city.

The city of Rochester Hills has begun placing temporary electronic signs with the message “High Deer Crash Area, Use Caution” in hot spots for deer across the city, like this one on Adams Road, near Dutton Road. The temporary electronic signs accompany permanent deer crossing signage throughout the city.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Rochester Hills continues to wrestle with overpopulation of deer

City kicks off deer driver safety campaign

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published October 23, 2018

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Although deer-related car crashes are on a downward trend in Rochester Hills, city officials said motorists should be on high alert for the next three months.

“We are culling deer every year,” Rochester Hills City Council President Mark Tisdel said. “We’re simply doing it with automobiles and not other methods. It’s a fact.”

Last year, the city saw a slight decrease in deer-related car crashes, which dropped from 176 in 2016 to 161 in 2017, according to a report from the city’s Deer Management Advisory Committee.  

“That still is a downward trend from our high in 2007 at 219 crashes,” committee Chair Deborah Barno said.

Rochester Hills isn’t the only community across the state dealing with deer-related vehicle crashes.

Each year in Michigan, there are nearly 50,000 reported deer-car crashes, according to the Michigan State Police. Around 80 percent of the accidents occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn, and police say 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.

With almost 50 percent of Michigan’s deer-car crashes occurring in October, November and December, the city is reminding drivers to keep an eye out for deer on the road.

Through December, the city is placing temporary electronic signs with the message “High Deer Crash Area, Use Caution” in deer hot spots across the city.

“We still see hot spots on Avon Road, Adams Road, Walton and Tienken,” Barno said.

Mayor Bryan Barnett said the city has an overpopulation of deer, but he said there are a lot of communities that would trade that as their biggest issue.

“We do have an overpopulation of deer. There is no doubt. … We spend a lot of time on this. We are constantly being alerted to articles around the country, to new processes and approaches across the country,” he said.

In 2009, the city created the Deer Management Advisory Committee to review deer-related car crash statistics as well as the city’s annual deer count surveys, and to make recommendations regarding the overpopulation of deer.

Each year, the city allocates approximately $10,400 to the committee, and an additional $1,800 will be spent this year to keep the temporary deer signs up through the end of December.

The committee’s additional awareness efforts currently include organizing deer gardening programs, publishing educational materials and direct mail communication, and more to keep residents vigilant.

“If the deer population increases by 20 percent or the car-deer accidents reaches a threshold of 200, those are the metrics that would allow council to look at other proactive measures to deal with the deer population. … Both of those numbers ... are trending in the opposite direction,” Barnett noted.

Rochester Hills naturalist Lance Devoe said deer are an important part of the city’s wildlife and are valued by the community.

“Installing signs is just one step we can take to lessen potential conflicts between drivers and wildlife,” he said in a statement.

“We have tons of deer in our community,” Barnett added. “We’re learning to live with them. We have a team that can help, and we appreciate the leadership of the citizens committee to give us guidance.”

To learn more about deer safety or for information about gardening to deter deer, visit rochesterhills.org/deer or call (248) 656-4673.

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