GH deer numbers up

The number of deer is on the rise in Grand Haven — that’s the consensus of a study by Grand Valley State University students.
Alex Doty
Oct 8, 2013


Assistant City Manager Sam Janson said the survey was conducted last year. The city didn't receive the report until this past August.

“According to research, we’re seeing an increase in the amount of deer in the city during survey times,” Janson said. “We’re continuing to see that trend increase.”

A total of seven trips were made throughout the city to find the deer, and surveyors also spent time counting deer in pockets of areas.

The study indicates that there are 49 deer per square mile on citywide routes, and about 104 deer per square mile on the pocket routes.

“We were really good at finding them on Harbor Island,” Janson said. “That is where we saw most of the deer.”

Councilman Bob Monetza said he rode along during some of the deer counts.

“You see what you can see on the back of a truck,” he said. “It’s an interesting process and gives us good data.”

While city leaders have noted an uptick in the number of deer, one thing they don’t know is what the deer are doing.

“We don’t really know what they are doing,” Janson said. “The ones we’ve seen, we count — and we go out the next day to see what we can find.”

Janson noted that the GVSU researchers indicated that there could be as many as three or four herds roaming the city.

To help get an idea on the herds' movement, officials are proposing to do more research to see what parts of town the deer frequent.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



How would they know, they haven't done a study in the past year and then they counted the same deer over every night. You need a real study done before you do a story like this.


Ah, deer don't roam in herds! Maybe we should have people studying the issue that understand the animal.

"We don’t really know what they are doing,” Janson said.

Um, they are eating stuff to continue to roam in herds!!! Oui vey.

Hope he was just qouted out of context on that one.


Wingmaster deer do roam in herds: Deers live in herds and there are two types of herds. The does (females) and the fawns herd together and then the bucks (males) form small herds of between 3-5. The buck herds are constantly changing because the deer form dominance heiarchies and the strongest male at the time becomes the head of the herd. The males are always fighting among thier herd to become the most powerful member. Usually the fawns stay with their mothers for the first year until her new offspring are born. The buck herds split up during the mating season when they go off to find females. In the winter deer will stay together and share the same well worn paths. Keeping together also protects them from the icy wind.


Nice try, but not entirely correct. Herd: a large group of animals, esp. hoofed mammals, that live, feed, or migrate together or are kept
together as livestock. 3-5
animals is not a herd

Buck and doe fawns do stay
with the mother for the
first year, then the mother will
run off the buck yearling only
to prevent inbreeding. The doe fawns will travel with the mother and eventual move off with her own group of 3-5 off spring.

Males do not always fight to determine dominance and
will confront each other when the does are in heat and to establish breeding rights. Sound familiar? BTW it is not always the strongest who wins, just the most persistent.

Deer down here in our area do not "yard" to travel well worn trails as we do not usually get deep enough snow to force that behavior.

Hope the helps your understanding and there is much more but we can leave that for another time. I will suggest reading Leonard Lee Rue "Ways of the Whitetail" if you would like to learn more accurate information.


Wingmaster....Q. What do you call Multiply deer in a group?
A. It’s called a herd
It is OK to be wrong wingmaster
Also if you have every been out in the great outdoors and visited harbor island you might have seen the deer trails that weave thru out the area you would better understand that the deer use these path's on a regular bases all year long


Whatever dude, I probably have forgotten more about deer than you will ever know.

Have a wonderful time out there on the harbor island wilderness preserve chasing the herds of deer. Don't forget your compass and daypack.


This semantic fight will have no winner.


From the article: "GVSU researchers indicated that there could be as many as three or four herds roaming the city."

I think Wingmaster's point is that, given the claim that there are hundreds of deer in the city, there would need to be 100 or more deer per 'herd' - and apparently they aren't known to congregate that way. By the way, I know nothing about deer, really, but I can still understand what he meant.

It's ok to be wrong!


Wingmaster your expert on whitetails is a Photographer not a deer expert


Figured you would understand pictures more than words.

Now that I know I have your attention, Charles Alsheimer is what many whitetail fanatics will read and understand as the expert on whitetails.


Wingmaster it is ok to be wrong


Yup, I am right now responding.


Ok, facts are fun, and here you go:

A group of deer can be referred to as either a herd or mob of deer.
As defined within the Oxford Dictionary.


Yup. WM has it right. Deer may travel to/from feeding areas together, but by and large, those are "family" groups and do not represent a "herd" in any sense of the word. A herd consists of male/females/offspring. Male deer have virtually nothing to do with the MULTIPLE females they breed with after the act, and they certainly have no developmental impact upon the resulting offspring.

Bucks are more territorial than they are hierarchical, and the resulting "fights" are more because a buck has entered territory "marked" by another buck. And then, this is primarily occurs during the "mating season". Otherwise, bucks may "pal around", but again, are in no sense of the word, a "herd".

While deer may "yard up" in the winter, that is typically dictated more by availability of food and snowcover than any hierarchical or "herd" imperative. That is to say, with an abundance of browse and little snowfall, deer won't "yard up" in any number resembling a "herd"

To be clear, deer are not a "herd" animal.


Definition of herd in English oxford dictionary
a large group of animals, especially hoofed mammals, that live together or are kept together as livestock.
I herd is a herd...big or small.. there is still a herd of deer on harbor island


But didn't your definition say "a large group of animals"? So, by the definition YOU supplied, a small group of deer can't be a herd.


Hey Sirhansalot; NO HERDS!


RU kidding,,, Who are my people?




Rukidding, nice try at recovering


What a hoot. I spend a LOT of time out in the wooded areas around town with my cameras and me and the wife ride out to harbor Island and around town several times a week. Some nights we see no deer and other nights we see a dozen. It depends on the time of day to some degree (how close to sunset) and I'd be willing to bet you that we see the same deer every night. That means there are maybe a dozen deer out there not 48 because we made 4 trips out there that week.

Unless your "researchers" are marking or tagging the deer they see, how the blazes would they know if they're looking at the same deer, or different deer with each trip? What a joke....and this is what a college education gets one nowadays??? yikes!

Why spend all this time and "research" to try and justify what the cranky old rich folks want you to do?....kill all the deer because they're eating their landscaping? Maybe if these geniuses didn't build their palaces in prime deer territory and then plant yummy stuff for the deer to eat, there wouldn't be a problem. Nawww, that's too easy.

For most people, a dozen deer within the city limits, eating grass, is a neat thing, something to take the little kids out to see, not a major crisis that needs multiple studies and neverending research.

Might be a bit cynical, but in many situations like this, the ones in charge tell the researchers what the desired end result is and then the researchers go out and find "data" to support the end result. I would suspect there's some of that going on with this project.


When are they going to realize that there are 49 deer on Harbor Island alone some nights? Harbor Island cannot be used to determine the number of deer per square mile in the city. You are counting Ferrysburg and SL deer. They swim in, they swim out. The counting was anything but accurate - even if their spotlight method is - which it is not. They had city employees counting, everyone from the HR lady at lunch to the guys who fix the roads.



"The study indicates that there are 49 deer per square mile on citywide routes, and about 104 deer per square mile on the pocket routes."

Really, are you kidding me? I want to see the square mile where there is 104 deer; and that's the average? Seriously, who writes this up, proofs it, and doesn't realize what a load of crap they are spewing?

I hope these Ying Yang’s aren't also publishing the economic numbers for us because, holy how wrong can you be Batman; those numbers are severely inflated.


Hey Bob, I would get my name out of this study and quick; you are being made to look like...well Montezuma's revenge basically.


I hope the city will allow bow hunting on the island, if not I guess I will just wait until midwinter and then run the sick and or starving deer down on foot and hit them in the head with a club,then eat them....yum yum...


How many ways can you say Deer Hunt coming, and we better before they take over the City. Just like the liberal media today, selling a bunch of bad news to sell there product.

Nancy Powell

Would it be a good idea to have the addresses of people whose plants have been eaten down to the nub?


Maybe...then we could all drive past their houses and point and laugh.

How about this Nancy, don't plant yummy stuff for the deer to eat if you're going to live in their habitat. Of course that's a simple answer and people who'd complain about deer eating their silly landscaping and want to kill them off because of that are a despicable lot who don't want simple answers, they want their way.

Personally I think we ought to eliminate the excess human population, you know, the ones who complain about deer and other animals doing what comes naturally to them and leave the "dumb" animals alone.


Just edit your last line LTA. Hurry before big brother zaps your comment!


Ha! I just did...figured it would take away from the point I was trying to make, which is probably a long shot anyhow, but ya never know.

Me and the little lady went out this evening and rode around for about an hour and saw a whopping 14 deer and that was all over the place, not in one "herd" on Harbor Island.

It's a plague I tell ya.....a plague!



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