It's a ghastly sight as you're driving down the road...deer after deer that have been hit by cars.
While I've only been in this area for a couple of years, the death toll and carnage do seem to be higher this year than in others. It's not just dead deer. It's deer in general. And, I'm not the only one who thinks so.
On Kalamazoo's Reddit, u/DataGuru314 wrote:
The deer population in kzoo is out of control. They're everywhere this year, even urban areas. I've never seen it this bad before. There have been tons of car/deer crashes. And now they've even started destroying my newly-planted trees, not just nibbling on them but completely stripping the bark and killing them.
So, what's going on? Why do the numbers seem to be so much higher in 2022? According to the comments, there might be a few different answers.
A user by the name of u/Holiday_Mulberry7162 commented,
The hunting population has dropped for many years in a row. This is the outcome of that. Next week they will really start to run. Everyone hang on and drive safe
Taking a look at what Google has to say, a report released in 2021 says that since 1995, the Michigan DNR noted a drop in hunting licenses from 871,865 to 616,278 in 2020. And, they anticipate an additional 100,000 drop in the next decade.
That could be due to time, money, aging out, and so on. And, obviously, fewer hunters equals more deer. Learn more below:
A Lot of Residential Areas
A few people in the comments were quick to point to a high number of residential areas as the cause for the higher deer population. Or, at least for the reason why we seem to be seeing more of them on roads, in yards, etc.
Tearing down forests leads to animals moving around in unfamiliar territory. It’s not just the deer that are searching for new homes.
Tracking down exactly how many new homes were built in Kalamazoo and surrounding areas over the past year proved to be difficult. However, according to towncharts.com, there were 1,314 homes per square mile in 2021 in Kalamazoo alone. And, home-building companies are only adding to that number.
A loss of their natural habitat would definitely drive the deer into more populated areas.
Now, I'm not a scientist, not an analyst, or anything close to it. So, please, don't cling to the above-listed reasons as absolute truth. They're merely speculations as to what might be causing the high deer population.
The question remains...what can we do about it?
If you're a hunter, go hunt. Otherwise, I think we're just going to have to take our time on the roads and expect to see deer cross our paths more often than not.
Of course, you could do what one person in Kalamazoo did...they tied a "Get Well Soon" balloon to a deer carcass. That'll certainly get the attention of a few local officials. See more here.
Looking to beef up your garden or landscaping with plants that deer won't want to eat? Check this out: