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Sturgis approves municipal deer management plan

December 20, 2018

STURGIS — Sturgis City Council members approved a deer management plan Monday.

”The deer management plan is something that we have had numerous requests from individual throughout the community, and the police department has as well, and an increased number of inquiries about deer management,” said City Manager Daniel Ainslie. “This started about the same time last year and so during that time, the city did a count of the deer population and started to look at how other cities mitigated urban herds and coming up with different strategies.”

City ordinance prohibits feeding deer within the municipal limits which is important as food attracts deer into the community.

The deer herd population count was completed this week.

“We did a deer count and had a total of 378 deer that the officers encountered in three days in the city limits, with an average of 126 deer per day,” said Chief of Police Geody VanDewater.

The next step for the city will be to contact Game, Fish, and Parks (GF&P) and request tags for deer within the city limits. The GF&P will determine the number to be harvested. The city will only authorize police officers to complete the harvest. One deer per night will be harvested in an attempt to encourage the herds to move away from the community. The city will establish a list for residents to receive up to 10 pounds of venison hamburger. Residents could agree to pay for the processing estimated at around $65-$95 and then receive the entire deer. Additional meat would be donated to the food bank. The motion carried unanimously to implement the four-point plan.

“Every single deer harvested will be turned over to GF&P, and they will be tested for disease,” VanDewater added.

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