Bloomington, Questions and Answers about the Deer Population at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve November, 20114

Indiana Urban Deer Management News and Information Archive



Questions and Answers about the Deer Population at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve from Bloomington.gov.  The original PDF posted on the Bloomington City website is available as a PDF file at the bottom of this page that can be downloaded.

Griffy Lake Nature Preserve covers a total of 1,200
acres, including the 109-acre Griffy Lake.
The property is owned by the City of Bloomington
and is managed by the Bloomington Parks and
Recreation Department.

Browse damage by deer in the Griffy Lake Nature
Preserve was noted in the Griffy Lake Master Plan

Update 2008:
"The large deer population is stripping vegetation in
the forest understory. This has destroyed plant and
animal diversity in the most heavily browsed areas."
(Griffy Lake Master Plan Update 2008, p. 26)
The Joint City of Bloomington-Monroe County Deer
Task Force summarized two years of meetings and
research on the topic in their final report, "Common
Ground: Toward Balance and Stewardship":
''When it comes to deer at Griffy Woods, clear
evidence points to ecosystem damage by deer-native
tree seedlings are not regenerating; herbaceous plant
species are severely compromised and possibly going
locally extinct; invasive species are taking over some
areas; the forest understory is unnaturally open; and
understory-reliant birds and other animals are losing
habitat." 

Deer at Griffy Lake have ample food, water, and
cover, and few natural predators. As a result, deer have
high survival rates and reproduce quickly. Visitors to
Griffy Lake may not see deer, but the absence of deers'
favorite foods, namely green forest plants and young
trees, is an indicator that large numbers of deer live and
feed in Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.
The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department is
tasked with managing all the natural resources at Griffy
Lake Nature Preserve. After considerable scientific
research, collecting opinions from members of the
public and neighbors of Griffy Lake, and a thorough
investigation of options for controlling the number of
deer, the Department has determined it is necessary to
cull the deer herd by sharpshooting.

During the fall and winter of 2014-15, professionally
trained sharpshooters will remove up to 100 deer
from Griffy Lake. The sharpshooters have the highest
standards for safety, and will humanely euthanize the
deer as quickly and efficiently as possible.
There are no plans to make Griffy Lake Nature
Preserve available for a public hunt, nor will it be
closed for long periods of time. The sharpshooting
efforts will take place during a limited time that will
result in brief and temporary closures of the Griffy
Lake property.
Venison acquired through the sharpshooting efforts
will be commercially processed and donated to the local
food bank. 

Has Bloomington Parl<:s and Recreation
considered non-lethal options?
Yes. Non-lethal options for reducing the number
of deer at Griffy Lake, including contraception,
sterilization, trapping and relocating, and
reintroducing large predators were all considered.
These programs are not endorsed by the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources, are ineffective in
open populations, and are cost prohibitive.
How many deer are living and
at Griffy Lake?
No attempt has been made to physically count the
deer at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. The evidence
of deer activity, including browse damage and heavily
used deer trails, provides ample evidence that deer are
numerous enough to negatively impact Griffy Lake
Nature Preserve. Bloomington Parks and Recreation
has no intention to remove all deer from the nature
preserve; rather, the goal is to remove enough deer to
reduce the pressure of deer grazing on native plants
and wildflowers and allow these plant populations to
recover.

When will the large deer population within city
limits be addressed?
Bloomington Parks and Recreation's management
responsibility is limited to Griffy Lake Nature
Preserve.