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drawing of a woman seated near a sleeping deer

Deer Recovery Room

Taryn Gal found a humane role in the cull.

by Katie Whitney

From the February, 2018 issue

When Taryn Gal said she'd help out with the city's deer sterilization effort, she had no idea she'd be sitting in the middle of the woods under a blanket with a wild animal in minus 8-degree weather. "I was pretty clueless about different roles for volunteers," she says. "Last year I was the only volunteer who wasn't an experienced hunter or vet," and so couldn't shoot the deer with tranquilizers or perform the ovariectomies. She also thought she'd have trouble lifting the deer into and out of the pickup truck used to haul them to a temporary operating room at Huron Hills Golf Course. That left just one volunteer task: sitting outdoors with the deer while they woke from anesthesia. She held the animals' heads up and out so they could breathe properly, then waited to make sure they could move on their own again.

As a mother of two grade-schoolers and managing director of the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health, Gal has little room in her schedule for daytime volunteering. "The eleven p.m.-four a.m. shift was perfect, when the kids were in bed, for me to go out and do this."

One night, Gal says, two young deer approached their mother when she woke, and the three walked off together in the moonlight. "It was so good that we had sterilized her and put her back out in the woods with her babies instead of just shooting her," says Gal.    (end of article)

[Originally published in February, 2018.]


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