Dog walkers and others: Please be aware of sharpshooters in parks

Jan 8-31, sixteen Ann Arbor parks will close from 3 p.m. to midnight for City-contracted sharpshooters who aim to kill 250 deer. Parks are not cordoned off, and some entrances don't have signs.

Arbor Hills Nature Area does not have a sign for the cullAnn Arbor, MI (January 5, 2018) – Starting this Monday, January 8, the City of Ann Arbor in collaboration with the University of Michigan, is closing sixteen city parks from 3 p.m. to midnight, every day through the end of January. Sharpshooters contracted by the City through White Buffalo, Inc. will be aiming to kill 250 deer using firearms. Parks are not cordoned off, and some entrances don't have signs.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) warns that pets interested in bait piles and people who don’t see signs – or where there are no signs posted – may inadvertently wander into sharpshooting by White Buffalo, the contractor for Ann Arbor's deer

Arbor Hills Park and Arbor Hills Nature Area, for instance, has an unmarked entrance as of the time of this press release. Two of its three official entrances have signs; one does not. The unmarked entrance is off Green Road, next to a path that’s frequented by dog walkers and by a bus stop where students are dropped off.

“I reported this problem to several top City officials over two weeks ago, and it still hasn’t been fixed,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s CEO and President. “There is also no signage in front of Sugar Bush Park, a park with a playground, where people have been sledding.”

HSHV also hopes to notify those out looking for lost dogs. In the past two weeks, HSHV has received reports of four different dogs lost in one of the sixteen parks set to close for the cull.

“I joined a late night search for one of them myself,” says Hilgendorf. “Lost animals are attracted to our natural areas and won’t heed signs as they head toward bait set out for deer. Furthermore, if all of the entrances aren’t marked, people may not know not to enter.”

“Regardless of whether you support or oppose the cull [see HSHV’s position statement here], there is no excuse for an error regarding something so serious. The City said safety is a top priority. They, and the University of Michigan, expanded the cull this year—closing more parks for sharpshooting, putting shooters on private properties without notice to their neighborhoods, and have elected to no longer respect the 450 foot safety zone. Ann Arbor is not a rural community, and many of these parks are right next to houses. Some of the parks, like Arbor Hills, are very small and are surrounded by homes and condominiums. I can’t imagine it could ever be safe to shoot in this park. But a very basic safety measure is signage and notification.”

Anyone who uses a park in Ann Arbor should be sure to check the closing list and report any missing signs to the City of Ann Arbor. 


About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal "save-rate" among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation's top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website ( and on our annual report (




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All images and photographs are courtesy of HSHV staff and Jeffrey E. Roush of Two Cat Studios.