Town and Country Considers Sharpshooting More Deer, But Culling Less Often
The city is weighing future deer management options, including reducing the deer herd more than initially expected, but then sharpshooting only every other winter, instead of every winter.
This week, the City of Town and Country approved allocating $57,250 for this winter's deer management program, which includes sharpshooting by White Buffalo of up to 125 deer and the harvesting of the deer meat.
(Read Previous Story: Winter Deer Management Plan Passed in Town and Country)
Captain Gary Hoelzer, who researched and helped develop the city's deer management plan, said that number was determined by him and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
The city's current plan, which was approved in October, 2011, is to reduce the population of deer from 660 to 300, or 30 per square mile. Last winter, 288 deer were shot as part of this plan.
This year, however, the city's deer versus car collisions did not decrease as expected. Hoelzer said that after meeting with MDC officials, it's possible the deer population may have been initially underestimated.
"Although it's a limited data set. Our deer versus car collisions have not reduced like we thought they would," Hoelzer tells Patch. "The reports I am getting from property owners, they still have a lot of deer...despite the efforts of last year."
As those coordinating the city's deer management program look to future, they are taking this into consideration.
Hoelzer said sharpshooting will likely be the only method of deer management the city uses, but there is the possibility of only conducting sharpshooting every other winter, instead of every winter as it's currently being conducted. Hoelzer points out that does not apply to this winter, but is a future possibility that would have to be approved by the Town and Country Board of Aldermen.
"Both White Buffalo and MDC said the city could likely do that every other year, if the board elects to use that method to maintain," Hoelzer explained.
To consider that "maintenance program" option, the city would have to first get its deer herd down to a "comfortable public safety level," Hoelzer explained. He said that may mean reducing the herd to 20 deer per square mile, instead of the initially planned 30 deer per square mile. Hoelzer said this is a number being discussed with MDC officials.
"MDC said we may have to get down into the mid 20s to get collisions down," Hoelzer tells Patch.
Information and deer management updates are posted on the right hand side of the Town and Country city website. Click to read the reports.
As in years past, this winter's culling will begin in mid-December.
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