To the Editor:
On Sept. 20, the city of Grand Haven held a special City Council work session, explaining the results of the spring's white-tailed deer spotlight survey. The survey was conducted by volunteers from Grand Valley State University's' Biology Department. This survey used the same route through and around the city on four different nights, over a 26-day time period. Spotlighting was conducted on April 21, 27; and May 4 and 16. A total of 76 deer were seen on these four nights.
We were told that the deer density for the area survey is 21.7 deer per square mile. The biology department believes that 50 percent of these deer were does. That each would produce at least one fawn each year, increasing the population by 50 percent in just one year.
If, we are to believe this 50 percent population increase, then does that mean that in five years there will be 564 in our city per mile square? If this is true and if nature doesn't or hasn't in the past
taken care of deer population increases, then why aren't there 9,000 or 10,000 deer in the city now? (Because, of the continuous 50 percent increase in population over the last 10 or 12 years to date.)
The part that gets me, if you drive the same route at about the same time on four different nights over 26 days, as the surveyors did, isn't it possible that the same deer was counted two, three and even four
times? Think about it, if you counted school children during recess playing in a school play area four different days, wouldn't you be counting some more than once?
I believe GVSU's rowing team could have conducted a more accurate deer count survey. I'm sure they would have limited their survey to one night. Having a dozen two-man teams assigned to certain areas each, spotlighting at the same time. This would eliminate counting the same deer, giving a more accurate count.
The next scheduled survey will be conducted this October and November. It is understood that the spotlighting will repeatedly occur along the same route as before, on multiple nights, with emphasis on the back yards of certain residences who are calling to complain the most. I understand that one homeowner has called some 25 times since city deer have become a target. If they spotlight these yards five or six different nights won't they be counting some of the same deer? I wish we
would number the deer like in the cartoon by on Sept. 23, then people would understand what I'm trying to say. I believe we all have more important problems to take up our time. Like fixing this great country of ours: by voting for freedom in November, not socialism.
— Bob DeHare, Grand Haven