Deer Management

Since 2011, City of East Lansing staff members have continued to focus on deer management in and around residential areas in the community in an effort to address urban deer issues. A few of the steps that have been taken are listed below:

  • The City has formed beneficial, ongoing partnerships with USDA Wildlife Services, the Michigan DNR and MSU to analyze deer population data in East Lansing.
  • On July 8, 2014, the East Lansing City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1334, prohibiting the feeding of deer in the East Lansing community.
  • The City hosted Deer Management Community Meetings in October 2014 and September 2019. View the summary and summary presentation from the October 2014 meeting. 
  • In late 2015, the MDNR proposed that a disease surveillance deer cull be performed by USDA Wildlife Service officials in two East Lansing parks (Harrison Meadows and Whitehills Park) in response to the Chronic Wasting Disease discovered in Meridian Township. The proposal was brought to the East Lansing City Council in conjunction with a public hearing on Ordinance No. 1358 on November 17, 2015. Upon hearing resident feedback during the public hearing, East Lansing City Council deferred a decision on the ordinance until February 2016.
  • Ordinance No. 1358 was adopted by the East Lansing City Council on February 23, 2016, prohibiting arrows from being discharged and requiring bows to be encased within the City. The ordinance also makes exceptions to the prohibition of hunting in parks within the City for officers acting in the discharge of their duties or persons acting under the direction of the State of Michigan as part of a wildlife control protocol approved by the East Lansing City Council. Due to time sensitivity, the MDNR's proposed disease surveillance deer cull was no longer on the table in February.
  • The City continues to conduct deer herd survey counts each fall/winter to track deer population trends throughout the City. Additionally, the City tracks data on deer-vehicle accidents in the City.
  • In partnership with MSU, the City participated in deer surveillance throughout summer 2019. Trail cams were placed in seven City parks to better understand the deer population and the movement of East Lansing's deer herds. 

Deer Feeding Ban

Did you know that it is illegal to feed deer in the City of East Lansing? Feeding deer does more harm than good. It often disrupts their natural behavior and causes them to linger too long outside of their normal habitat, leading to an increase in the possibility of disease transmission and the overbrowsing of neighborhood landscapes. Feeding deer can also lead to enterotoxemia. On July 8, 2014 the East Lansing City Council approved Ordinance No. 1334, prohibiting the feeding of deer in East Lansing.

Chronic Wasting Disease

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) first identified Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the state's free-ranging deer herd in spring 2015. Since the initial infected deer was found, 123 more CWD-positive deer have been discovered (as of September 2019). Several of these infected deer have been found locally in Ingham and Clinton Counties. The DNR asks for the public's help in reporting deer that are unusually thin and/or exhibiting unusual behavior (i.e. acting tame around humans). To report a suspicious-looking deer, call 1-800-292-7800. Please report all deer-vehicle collisions to local police departments or DNR check stations so the deer carcass can be tested for CWD by the DNR.

Learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease.
View the Bi-Weekly CWD Status Update.

Leave Wildlife in the Wild

It is important to remember that many species of wildlife “cache” (hide) their young for safety, including deer. These babies are not abandoned; they simply have been hidden by their mother until she returns for them. The MDNR asks community members to resist the urge to help seemingly abandoned baby animals. Learn more.

Protecting Landscapes from Browsing Deer

In response to feedback from residents, the City of East Lansing has adapted helpful tips from the MSU Extension and the MDNR websites on protecting landscape plants from deer. 

Deer Survey - Take it Now!

Community members can share their feedback on the deer population in East Lansing by taking the City of East Lansing's NEW Deer Management Survey.    

Results of a previous survey can be found here.


Community feedback is an important part of the deer management discussion. Feedback can be shared by submitting an online form.

The header photo on this page was taken by Gene Klco in East Lansing. It was a 2014 East Lansing Community Photo Contest winner.