Dowagiac airport gets permit for reduction of deer population

Published 5:41 pm Sunday, November 28, 2010

The City of Dowagiac recently received approval from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) for a damage and nuisance animal permit to reduce the deer herd on Municipal Airport property.

The request was made to the DNRE after the city council received a complaint from a pilot who narrowly missed deer with his aircraft while landing.

At the request of the city council, Director of Public Safety Tom Atkinson was asked to explore options.

Since deer hunting, herd reduction and game management fall under DNRE, the field office in Plainwell was contacted to see what options might be.

When the DNRE receives complaints of deer on airport runways causing safety concerns for pilots and the potential loss or damage to aircraft, a damage and nuisance animal permit is issued if requested.

With this type of permit you are not hunting, you are shooting deer to reduce the herd size within a specific distance of the runways.

In Dowagiac’s case, the DNRE specified airport property or 300 yards on either side of the runways.

The city’s insurance carrier was contacted to see what the limitations were, if any.

They expressed concern about allowing open hunting on city property, but would allow a controlled shoot to protect pilots and their passengers.

They indicated that using properly trained individuals to reduce the herd was important and that it should fall under the DPS director.

Three city employees who are experienced hunters were selected by the director to assist in reducing the herd size.

Pursuant to the permit, any of the deer harvested have to be donated to a charitable organization or needy families.

Charitable organizations and need families who would like some venison may contact the

Dowagiac Police Department at 782-9743 and leave a message.

Those who receive carcasses are responsible for having it processed.