Grand Valley State University professor Paul Keenlance presented his deer census plan to City Council. He said the two-year study would provide insight into the habits of deer and how many there are in the city.
"I think that it is important to get an idea of where deer are running and where deer are foraging," Keenlance said. "Anytime you do wildlife research, you are sampling animals you hope are relative to their overall population."
The benefit of the study is that it would guide city leaders in any deer management decisions they may decide to take, he said.
"What it will do is, if you decide to choose a management activity, it will tell you where you need to focus that," Keenlance said. “If you've got deer that are not going into residential areas, those are deer you probably don't need to spend time, effort or money managing."
The proposal comes on the heels of numbers released from a 2012 deer count. The report indicated that the number of deer in town is on the increase.
Researchers plan to fit deer with transmitters and reflective ear tags to track their movement. Four deer will be equipped with GPS collars and another dozen with VHF radio collars.
"We'll go in and trap 16 deer," Keenlance said. "Those animals will probably be representative of a larger part of the deer population."
Once collared, researchers would check on the deer over the course of the study to determine where they are. Keenlance said the project would also give a look at the reproduction and mortality rate of the herd.
City officials will likely decide at a future meeting if they’ll do the study. Keenlance noted he could begin the study at the beginning of 2014.
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