GRAND HAVEN, Mich. -- Many people say there are too many deer in the city of Grand Haven, and city leaders say reports of property and vehicle damage back up that claim.
Now, they've come up with a controversial plan to eliminate up to 25 deer in the city limits: They're hiring sharpshooters from the USDA Wildlife Services.
"We've received complaints, damage complaints -- landscape and that sort of thing -- and it went to our city council," said Vester Davis, Assistant to the Grand Haven City Manager. "And our city council gave us direction to, like I said, obtain a permit. So the issue came from the citizens and it went to our city council and our city council gave us direction to proceed."
The permit was granted by the Michigan DNR in late August. The city of Grand Haven presented evidence -- including photos -- to the DNR to get the permit.
"They had to document it with vehicle accident reports, with public complaints, photos of vegetation and impacts that deer have in the city," said Mark Sargent, DNR Southwest Michigan Wildlife Regional Supervisor. "We also ask them to have at least one public meeting. They did have this at two of their city council meetings."
Although most people agree that something needs to be done to reduce the deer population, not everyone agrees with how it's going to be done.
The USDA Wildlife Services will be using sharpshooters for the deer culls sometime between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.
"Like you said, I am a little conflicted on it because I don't like to just see deer getting killed, you know," said one concerned Grand Haven resident. "But at the same time, they're everywhere here."
The City of Grand Haven says the exact dates and times of the scheduled deer culls most likely will not be made public, due to safety concerns. They say the meat from the deer culls will be donated to a local food pantry.