Travis Smola

The Ann Arbor Michigan deer sterilization experiment may be coming to an end if a new bill becomes law.

The saga of the urban deer herd in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been a subject of hot debate across the state. Now, the Michigan House is looking to end at least one controversial aspect of it: deer sterilizations.

According to the Detroit Free Press, lawmakers pushed through a bill last week that would prohibit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from issuing any more sterilization permits until April 2022.

The city of Ann Arbor has worked closely with Connecticut-based White Buffalo Inc. the past few years to sterilize deer in the city limits. The same company was also part of the controversial deer vasectomy program in Staten Island, New York.

White Buffalo’s approach in Ann Arbor was two-pronged, as the company also utilized sharpshooters to enact a cull. But the cull part of the program met heavy resistance by animal-rights groups. In one case, protesters attempted to use a homeless man’s presence in the park to shut down the cull.

They also filed multiple lawsuits intended to stop the hunts, which also failed. This year, protesters worked together to scare deer into areas where they were safe from shooters. White Buffalo had hoped to cull 250 deer this year, but they only managed to take 115.

Officials later admitted one of the reasons they fell short was because of anti-hunter disruptions to the hunts.

The new bill put forth by lawmakers passed by a 69-40 vote and will now move on to the Senate. White Buffalo would be allowed to finish their current work before it goes into effect. Ann Arbor is currently the only city to utilize such a deer sterilization plan.

We’ll keep an eye on the progress of this bill and keep you updated here at Wide Open Spaces.


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