A controversial deer cull planned for the Kensington Metropark in Milford was canceled after a Royal Oak man threatened violence, the Detroit Free Press reports. The cull, planned by the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, was meant to address the overpopulation of deer inside the park system. The cull was originally scheduled to take place on February 4th and February 11th, though those dates were rescheduled after credible threats against police were received on February 3rd. Both hunters and animal rights activists opposed the cull which would have been carried out by sharpshooters from the Metroparks police.
According to the Free Press article, the parks system has had studies performed by third-party biologists which showed a lack of nutrition and stress on the Metropark deer herd due to overpopulation. The 71-year-old man who allegedly made the threats of violence is currently being sought by police.
Wildlife culls in general have typically been met with controversy across the country. On the one hand, hunters argue that they would happily buy licenses to hunt the animals and use the meat. Animal rights activists oppose the killing of wildlife by any means and see a cull as inhumane. New York recently spent almost 7 million dollars to sterilize male deer on Staten Island as an alternative to culling them. Over 1700 deer were captured and had vasectomies performed on them, but over 6 years the population of deer on Staten Island has not been reduced at all. This illustrates the failure of non-lethal means to control numbers of wildlife populations.
Another experiment has been carried out on Isle Royale in recent years which has seen an overpopulation of Moose. The small National Park in Michigan is home to over 1000 moose. The lack of natural predators on the island has allowed the herd to flourish and decimate the ecosystem on the island. Federal officials have been transplanting wolves there for the past several years to try and reduce moose numbers, but so far the program has been largely unsuccessful. Several of the wolves left the island when the lake was frozen in the winter and one of the relocated wolves was killed by the native wolves on the island.
It is my position that there is no better system in North America than using legal hunters to control wildlife populations. Hunting provides money to local economies, license fees to fund state wildlife management efforts, and equipment taxes to the federal government for wildlife management. In addition to the financial benefits, hunting is a great way to get young people and families outdoors and away from the TV while also providing them with wild sustainable protein. It is sad, that we are at a point where folks would rather pay snipers to come in and slaughter wild animal herds than allow hunters to pay for the privilege of hunting.