By Scott Sullivan
Not every Douglas resident was thrilled by council OK’ing deer harvesting on 17 city acres north of Wiley Road west of Northern Lights Condominiums.
Mike and Holly Widdes, who live nearby, voiced disappointment in their elected representatives’ decision — which gave exclusive bow-hunting rights to two individuals acting as West Michigan Wildlife Management —writing council in a letter included in Monday’s agenda packet:
“My wife (copied) and I were not present for the city council meeting where the deer harvest was discussed, we did however respond to the email for further clarification as it instructed.”
He’d been informed, he said, the herd thin-out was to be contracted by a certified company to handle in line with Michigan Department of Natural Resources standards.
“Upon further review,” Widdes wrote, “I found that the company West Michigan Wildlife Management, which I was referred to, doesn’t actually appear to be an accredited entity, or even an entity at all.
“My understanding is people tapped to handle this are actually Douglas residents and DNR-licensed hunters like the rest of us … I was also able to ascertain that the city, with use of residents’ tax dollars, was actually paying $200 per deer harvested (total of 15). $3,000 paid for the sport of hunting deer in a confined area.
“I believe the email sent on 10/19/23 was not very clear and has left us and likely many others scratching their heads,” Widdes’s letter went on.
“To spend money on something that experienced licensed hunters, such as my wife and I, and likely many others in the community, would gladly do and contribute to free, doesn’t seem like money well spent.
“I was spoken to as if this was a licensed contracted company doing the work when in reality they are simply Douglas residents, just like us. I would council to know my wife and I are willing to handle this task for free as needed …”
Oct. 2 City Minutes – New Business – Item B notes “Wildlife Management – Discussion Item – Artom and Robert Rank, West Michigan Wildlife Management, presented about ethical harvest of proper-age deer that ensures proper diversity, herd health and carrying capacity for the area.”
The Ranks, minutes continue, also discussed geese excrement on docks, plus ways to deter bird encroachments too.
The Widdes’ letter ends suggesting certain residents spend more time tending their own land than hunting others.’
Council approved the proposed harvest as first order of business at its next public meeting two weeks later, per city records. Interested citizens can tune into member’s discussion of it, which lasted from 7:11 to 7:25 p.m.
Go to the city’s webpages, douglas.mi.gov. At left, click City Government, then Agendas and Minutes. Under Councils, Commissions, Committees, Boards and Authorities, hit Click here for Agendas and Minutes before Oct. 14, 2022.
Now click on the 10/16/2023 Regular Meeting of the City Council Video icon at right, click Play, drag the bottom scrolling bar to 7:11, release. Take in.
By Scott Sullivan