'Don't Veer for Deer' - Though It May Be a Disease that Puts the Animals in Jeopardy

The Michigan DNR is reporting that the deer disease EHD is back in the state this year, and it's hit Oakland County.

This story has been revised since its original posting to correct and clarify the DMAC benchmarks. Also, since the posting, the DNR has reported three deer dead of EHD in Oakland County.

The Rochester Hill's City Council heard a report from the Deer Management Advisory Committee this week. 

While the report included several recommendations for 2013 to decrease deer/vehicle crashes — a feeding ban, educational materials and signs — it also concluded that EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) is back in the state.

The disease, spread by midge flies, causes extensive internal bleeding in deer. The disease does not affect humans. It was last seen in the area in 2009 when many dead deer were pulled from area rivers as deer seek water to relieve the high fever that accompanies the disease.

As of Monday, the Michigan DNR has reported 10,400 dead deer in 29 counties. On Wednesday afternoon, the DNR reported three deer dead of EHD in Oakland County.

To track the disease the DNR is asking residents to report the presence of dead deer to their nearest Wildlife Office.

2011 Numbers

Ten Rochester Hills areas are surveyed annually for a deer count, according to the report. The areas are:

  • Butler Road/Oakland University
  • Riverbend Park
  • Adams/Avon
  • Faculty Subdivision
  • City Hall
  • Bloomer Park
  • Winkler Mill
  • North Rochester Road
  • Fairview Subdivision
  • Fairview Commons

Aerial surveys have taken place every year since 1999 with the exception of this year due to a lack of snow. There must be at least 4 inches of snow on the ground to do an aerial survey.

The numbers reported are for 2011. Data for 2012 will not be available until May.

After three consecutive years of decreases, deer/vehicle crashes in Rochester Hills were up 13.9 percent in 2011, according to the report. However, the number, 139 crashes, is below the benchmark of 150 crashes.

The survey also showed an increase in the local deer population from 107 counted deer in 2010 to 132 in 2011.

In order for DMAC to change their recommended approach to deer management, the deer/vehicle collisions would have to reach at least 200 for a given year and the deer aerial survey would need to increase by more than 20 percent from one year to the next.

The report also stated deer complaints in all categories — feeding deer, nuisance and roadkill — decreased drastically in 2011. 

Deer Signage 

Rochester Hills has a total of seven moveable signs to alert drivers of high-risk areas. Two new signs that also include driver speed information have been added this year. The signs are used from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, the mating season when deer are most active. 

The signage rotates between these high crash areas:

  • Tienken Road
  • Brewster Road
  • Adams, along Oakland University
  • Walton
  • Livernois
  • Avon
  • Hamlin
  • Rochester Road

The committee is also looking into other low-cost options like subdivision exit signs similar to those used to educate on water conservation.

Barbara Krueger October 24, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Has the amount of deer in Rose Park (the ten acres between Adams HS and Bridgewood Farms sub-division ever been counted?
Linda Lachowski October 24, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Susan Marino October 24, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Laura Cassar October 24, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Thanks to DMAC chairperson Jim Kubicina for the clarification on the benchmarks and the news that EHD is officially in Oakland County.
laurie puscas October 24, 2012 at 06:36 PM
The city needs to be more vigilant regarding the high brush along the road sides. There is an ordinance that requires the brush be mowed down. If I recall it is 10 or 12 feet from the road. High brush reduces visibility for both the driver and the deer. It seems every time I see a dead deer along side a road it is near where there is high brush right by the road. This puts motorists and deer in danger of a collision. Let's see, the city has the money to give 7% annual pay increases, it would seem they could afford to enforce ordinances that will save lives.
Michelle October 24, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Agreed, they have come after my little dog at least 5 times, though they stop short at the big dog. I cut all my hosta's down early this year, because they only act to feed the deer!!!!
Daryl Patrishkoff October 25, 2012 at 09:37 AM
Signs telling us to NOT veer for deer are not a solution to the problem. This is a Band-Aid and a waste of money. We need to get to the root of the problem, not addressing the symptoms. The root of the problem is we have too large of a herd for the populated area we live in. It is not politically correct to cull the deer, but we are fine with killing plenty of other animals that are politically correct to kill. I guess Disney and the Bambi character made the image of deer to be protected. On Monday I saw 2 deer vehicle incidents, one almost causing a crash with multiple cars, not sure how no one got hurt, but God was looking out for them. Then I saw a deer on the side of the road freshly hit by another car. We are still killing these deer, but with our cars and potentially causing humans to get hurt. Using this logic, we must get rid of all the cars, because we need to save the deer. Let us address the real problem, cull the herd like we did years ago. This will manage properly the population of the deer for our area. I like Laurie’s idea of trimming the brush in the interim, but let’s go the root cause and solve the problem.
Patricia October 25, 2012 at 12:16 PM
The deer are on the move now and it is breeding season-so more deer are fatalities. The deer population is not that much more increased, so much they are more compressed. Unfortunate, that brings more problems to those that live in areas where deer, woods, fields etc. were the habitat & it is gone or diminished. Our population on the other hand has grown in the area and everyone applauds that-and with that comes more traffic, more bricks and mortar and less habitat. The politicians will ok a cull in the near future from pressure from subdivisions and a growing tax base. It is inevitable. People vote, people win, habitat and deer loose. Pretty soon with unchecked growth, we won't have to worry about this-the entire area will be buildings, roads, signs, strip malls, subdivisions, etc. etc. and there will be nothing else left. The cull is coming-let's hope they use sharpshooter for clean kills and not the fiasco they had last time. The deer deserve a quick painless and humane death.To bad there wasn't controlled growth and better planning from the start, but money, growth in population and votes talk.
Natalie Jarnstedt October 26, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Deer are also on the move because of hunters, it's not just mating season. There is no such thing as a clean kill - if there is, it's once in a blue moon! The deer deserve to live without being demonized and vilified as our enemy!
Patricia October 26, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I so agree with you Natalie, but people like you and I,and many others that are concerned can't win against those that moved into the area, vote, pay taxes and can't co-exist with the deer. The claims already mentioned in the above posts are why. Deer, geese, swans, heck, even birds and squirrels are vilified in favor of cutting down more, building more and less and less habitat and native plants. And I agree, there is no such thing as a clean kill--very very few. I am sick when I see the Oakland Press glorifying the fact that a a kid shot/ killed a deer and they had to track it by the bloody trail it left until it expired. But what happened a couple of years ago to the deer due to the politicians was even worse yet. That needs to be avoided and no helicopters We can't win this for the deer, although I would still try. When someone hits a deer, it is always the deer's fault-not a distracted driver on a cell phone, or going to fast, or not paying attention-the deer is blamed when it is born and it is blamed when it dies by a car.
Linda Pannuto October 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Cull the deer, feed the poor this is a win-win solution. Everyone who has built a home in this area has altered this natural habitat and has a responsibility to develop a safe and humane solution. Is it more humane and ecologically sound to allow the deer population to grow beyond their bounds and then to die from a disease or an accident and become garbage? Cull the deer and feed the poor.
Suzanne Hester October 29, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I feed the deer:) I have been doing it for years. My deer love my dogs. They stare at each other as close as a few feet from each other. My yorkie chases the mom around in crazy eights as if they are playing a game together. Yes, I know you deer haters also hate people that feed them. Papa Joe's sells a case of gently bruised (personally they are almost perfect) apples for $12 The deer love them....and they don't touch my landscape or flowers. We have a mutual respect for one another. They are beautiful creatures with sweet dispositions once they know you mean them no harm. Mine come at the same time each night and wait for me to come out. I understand their population can be a problem. We moved into their territory....they are just tryig to survive withy what little they have left. (PLEASE no HATE RESPONSES)
Peter Griffin October 29, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Seriously??? Maintaining the habitat of the deer and the safety of the deer is more important that the safety of people??? Really??? A "clean" kill....really...I don't care how they do it -- just thin the herd. I don't want my family needlessly hurt because some deer decides to cross the road in front of our vehicle. My brother has a few hundred dollars of repairs to make to his vehicle because some deer decided to stroll in front of his vehicle. I don't want to pay for repairs to my vehicle either, because of some animal. Thin the herd any way possible. People come first. And as far as controlled growth (birth control for deer?) --- I don't think the bucks can open those foil packages with their hooves (sp?) without tearing/damaging the product. They also have a hard time unrolling them once they do get it open.
Peter Griffin October 29, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Let's win one for the people, forget the deer. Co-exixting with the deer is not an issue. I have a deed on file that says that the plot/parcel of land that my house is on belongs to ME -- not the deer. I like to keep my lawn and landscape looking nice. I am not letting some deer ruin thousands of dollars of work/check writing. And yes, geese are just as bad...leaving piles of $^!T everywhere. Let's cull the herd and feed those in need of food. It's a win-win. Nothing wasted.
Peter Griffin October 29, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Peter Griffin October 29, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I think I just threw up in my mouth...
Tony Casino October 29, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I moved north of Lakeville where there are more deer. Rochester Hills residents just need to slow down, quit with their Starbucks and cell phones, and actulayy drive for once! The deer may have been there first. You are in their territory!
Patricia October 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
People complain about birds and squirrels. Complaints are rampant about swans and geese-imagine that, in a State known for its water and waterways.. I don't think Mother Nature can please everyone, nor should she have to--Michigan is known for its Flora and Fauna and really, the problem goes back to planning and population, sprawl and dwindling habitat. It would be better if people did slow down and were more attentive on our roads and I feel sorry for those that do loose vegetation, but sometimes deer fences help and if not, deer proof planting-I would pick up after the deer just as I would a dog. If I choose to live in their territory, than I have to expect some things would be different. When you move into what was country, it comes with its own unique problems or enjoyment-pending your view point. I just hope there is a fair and peaceful solution without all the anger. I know people in Rochester Hills and Oakland Twp that enjoy the deer coming through their yards and some actually plant extra for hard times for them or leave the fallen fruit for them to eat that day. it is not all bad. And I do agree with you Tony, a little more attention goes a long way on the roads.
Peter Griffin October 30, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Holy blanking blank!!!!!!!! Forget the rights of the deer and cut their numbers. I am in favor of Nugent's "wack-em and stack-em" approach right now. There are too many deer causing wrecks. It's not the driver's fault when a deer leaps from out of the woods and lands right in front of a car traveling 50mph in a 50mph zone. Try traveling on Rochester Rd between Tienken and 32 mile early in the morning and late in the evening (dark) and you will see many deer just darting out into traffic. People don't need to slow down when they travel the posted speed. " I know people in Rochester Hills and Oakland Twp that enjoy the deer coming through their yards and some actually plant extra for hard times for them or leave the fallen fruit for them to eat that day." ---- Really??? You Serious??? Nothing better to do than to 'provide' for the deer???? These people are part of the problem -- let's just increase the deer population even more... Instead of planting extra for the deer, why not pick your extra veggies and donate them to a shelter so they can feed PEOPLE. PEOPLE come first -- not animals. Wack-em and Stack-em!
Peter Griffin October 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Hey suzie -- let's take the $12 and donate to a worthy cause....maybe the Pontiac Rescue Mission, Pontiac Lighthouse, Detroit Rescue Mission, etc. That $12 could feed a couple of homeless people a Thanksgiving dinner and the Rescue Mission.
Patricia October 30, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Some of the people do generously donate. The fallen fruit that is left s normally not acceptable as to the condition but it is acceptable as feed so it is left. To each his own opinion Peter. I think Nugent's canned hunting is a joke and the bow and arrows sometimes used horrific with the pain and suffering the animal endures. Rochester Rd. is "deer" country-and al to of it is pretty darn wide open for visibility. I travel it quite a bit. There are still far more accidents caused my human error to another vehicle than by the deer--Have a good day Peter--
Tony Casino November 02, 2012 at 04:11 PM
"Try traveling on Rochester Rd between Tienken and 32 mile early in the morning and late in the evening (dark) and you will see many deer just darting out into traffic. " Peter.....I live near Leonard, and travel Rochester Rd. almost every day. I have never had a deer dart out in front of me there. On the back roads...that is different. I usually travel between 45-60 mph on the dirt roads and have had them run across the road in front of me. I love Nugent and although not a hunter, I agree that the deer need to be culled because of their numbers....wack 'em & stack 'em!! It's just that some people in Rochester Hills and other areas think they are all that matters and are not concerned with anything else in life but to drive an Escalade and have a big house. I grew up in Warren...moved to RH...moved to Sterling Heights and appreciate the beauty of country living now. Instead of ridding the problem, why can't we come up with other ideas?
Garrett Berry November 08, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Im a bowhunter who hates to see deer dead on the road rather then in my freezer.I have a family of three who loves Venison. In Minnesota they allow bowhunters in a tree shooting down to hunt deer on there properties with a bow and arrow. They make hunters take a class and follow all rules.The state actually makes a little money on the deal . My number is 1248 425 6217 If you own a few acres i can help havent got a deer this year! Garrett
bekki brown November 08, 2012 at 01:53 AM
TURN OFF YOUR HIGHS OK as for the DON'T VEER FOR DEER MAYBE the people should think of this WHEN u are driving at night and u have ur HIGH beams on it is IMPORTANT that u turn them OFF when u come to on coming traffic.. the lights they make now are VERY VERY BRIGHT and since i drive at night i have almost gone in the ditch 4 5 times now cuz people are rude and don"t turn them off and blind me to point were i cant see shit. and that is WORSE then almost hitting a deer. so the next person that doesn't wanna turn the highs off i will u turn it right there in the road follow u and i will give u a piece of mind the animals causing accidents its the ignorant lazy "don't no how to drive" people that are gonna be the cause of deaths people must not understand that when we flash are ligh's at u its not warning u to slow down cops or cop warning its saying UR BLINDING ME turn ur's off.. i am able to see a deer's eyes to slow down .. maybe they jump out at u .. but some how ur warned either way .. but to be blind
Peter Griffin November 08, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Hey bekki...ever hear of run on sentences? Wow. ; ) Don't threaten to come after people if they have their brights on. You never know what kind of nut-job they may be.
bekki brown November 08, 2012 at 02:52 AM
didnt mean to put it off topic I just figure maybe those people would be on her and see it and no it will hurt some one. and they dont no what nut job they maybe blinding .. so it goes boths ways :)
Garrett Berry November 09, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Hey Tony Would love To Help with the deer Problem and get some tasty venison. I usually trade tree work for a place to hunt. Garrett Berry I currently hunt near Secord lake rd. My number is on here...


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