Open House Set to Discuss Deer Management
The Department of Natural Resources, at the request of the Town of Wilson in Sheboygan County, plans to allow sharp shooting within Kohler-Andrae State Park to help reduce the deer population in the local area. The Department is also considering the establishment of a limited annual deer hunt in the park by the year 2005.
A public informational meeting regarding deer management in the park will be held on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 at the Sanderling Nature Center in Kohler-Andrae State Park. The public is invited to stop in anytime between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. to talk with department staff and Town of Wilson officials to learn more about the deer management program for the property.
The number of deer in Kohler-Andrae State Park and the adjoining Black River residential area of the Town of Wilson has been increasing at a rapid rate in recent years. The high numbers of deer are creating problems for the native plant communities at the park and have caused considerable damage to ornamental vegetation on private property throughout the area. As the deer herd continues to grow, there has also been a marked increase in deer/vehicle accidents creating a safety issue for local motorists. In addition, damage to agricultural crops caused by grazing deer has also increased significantly within the last several years
“Deer are an integral part of Kohler-Andrae State Park and a major attraction for park visitors and local residents who enjoy viewing wildlife. Our goal is to cooperate and support the Town of Wilson’s deer abatement efforts and at the same time maintain a deer population that is healthy and in balance with the natural communities of the park and surrounding area,” said Jim Buchholz, park superintendent.
Wildlife management staff experienced in urban deer management point out that sharpshooting can be a safe and efficient means of removing deer. It has been used successfully in many urban communities, natural areas and parks for several years. A shooter operates from an elevated stand and directs the shot downward from a position with good visibility and away from public access, ensuring human safety. The shooter can fell a deer with a single shot, killing it instantly and humanely. The DNR requires that any deer taken by sharpshooters must be used and not wasted. All deer not claimed by local residents for their own use will be processed and distributed to food pantries.
The approved deer abatement plan calls for the removal of between 250 to 300 deer within the Town of Wilson, which includes Kohler-Andrae State Park. Several clearly marked locations will be selected on public and private lands away from homes and trails. Experienced professional sharpshooters will work two or three days a week usually in the early morning hours and late afternoons. The Town of Wilson’s deer abatement program is currently planned to start sometime in December depending on weather conditions at that time. Signs will be posted at the entrance to Kohler-Andrae State Park alerting visitors that deer abatement shooting is taking place. The property will be closed to the public during the sharp shooting sessions.
Kohler-Andrae State Park was established in 1928 and encompasses 1,000 acres in the Town of Wilson just south of the city of Sheboygan. The park is open all year and has over two miles of Lake Michigan beach front, a modern nature center, several miles of hiking trails, picnic areas and a 105-unit campground. For more information on the deer management program within Kohler-Andrae State Park call the park office at 920-451-4080.