Erin Shank, urban wildlife specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), spoke to the Manchester Board of Aldermen Monday night about suburban deer management. Aldermen had mentioned at previous meetings they were receiving calls from residents who were concerned that deer were damaging their landscaping. As a result, aldermen requested to learn more from MDC about what constitutes a deer problem and deer management
Shank said MDC looks at the following three factors to determine if there is a deep population issue.
- Ecological Carrying Capacity: Approximately 20 deer per square mile is a detriment to habitat.
- Social Carrying Capacity: About 40 deer per square mile is when residents become intolerant of the animals.
- Biological Carrying Capacity: A look at how many deer an area can hold until they eat themselves out of house and home. Shank said they do not have a number for that.
Shank estimates there are 40 to 60 deer per square mile in Manchester.
Many of the deer come from nearby Queeny Park. Hunting is not allowed in any St. Louis County park and Shank said St. Louis County does not take any steps to manage deer population.
"I think it's time," Shank said. "It would require a change in county code. I know Town and County and Wildwood are interested in county parks managing deer within their parks."
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Shank said Ballwin is the only city in the West County area that has a deer population issue that is not doing anything to manage the population.
"And that certainly affects Manchester's issue too because they can hold a lot of deer over there too," Shank said.
She also explained the problems wildlife experts and residents see with too many deer.
- Landscape Damage
- Deer-Vehicle Collisions: Shank cited 500 to 600 deer-vehicle collisions each year in St. Louis County.
- Concern Over Tick Borne Disease: Shank said Missouri does not have a high incident rate of lyme disease and said this may be more of a perceived risk that a real risk.
- Bold and Aggressive Deer Behavior
- Deer Overbrowsing
Shank also offered numerous solutions to managing a deer population within a suburban area Monday night. Check back to Town and Country-Manchester Wednesday for more details and hear how the mayor and aldermen responded.
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