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Deer Management Considered in Manchester

Does Manchester have a deer population problem? That's what city leaders are trying to determine and they are looking into options for deer population management.

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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cassidychambers@aim.com May 08, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I agree!
Gabrielle Biondo May 08, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Be sure to check back Wednesday for more on this story because it will address some of the issues that are being discussed here.
John Hoffmann May 08, 2012 at 06:23 PM
To Joe and Cassidy...The Missouri Department of Conervation will not allow the capturing and relocating of deer. Town and Country did that in 1999 and 2000. It was shown that 70% of the captured deer died awful deaths from something called "capture myopthy" where due to the stress of being capture organs begin to shut down. MDC stopped the relocation and will not allow it for humane reasons. It is not bulldozers that have created this problem. Deer herd populations exploded across the U.S. in the mid-1990s. In the 1970s there were deer in West County, but no where close to the number that are here now. Finally "toothed grease eaters" as Joe described them with guns in reality at least in Town and Country and numberous other cities on the East Coast in Mid-Atlantic states are actually wildlife biologiists some with PhDs working for a Connecticut firm that specializes in deer reduction.
Joe P. May 09, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I believe Cassidy is at least partially right. Maybe not the bulldozers here, but statewide construction and destruction of natural predators, have caused this population increase. The "fear" of wolves, bobcats, and other predators in addition to the "mall" boom has helped lead to this. It's the same example of people building houses in the mountains in California, and wanting to eradicate the mountain lions. Ridiculous. You like the trees, the abundance of common ground around our houses, but not the wildlife that goes with it. Move to the City! Humans are worse than locust some times.
G B September 02, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I live right behind Hanna School and my yard (still) backs to the woods. Yesterday afternoon after the rain we had a total of 7 visitors: around 5:00 pm a doe and her 2 fawns (they still had white spots) and around 7:00 pm a different doe, her 2 fawns (no spots), and a buck (6-ender w. velvet antlers). A week earlier the buck showed up in the same place, unafraid, stood his ground against my 3 dogs (large) barking at him at the fence. What will happen if the deer jump into my yard, I unknowingly let the dogs out and one of the dogs jumps over the fence to give chase? In summary, there are at least 7 deer "trapped" between Hanna Road/Burwick Terrace/141..... The Chinese Church almost tripling the size of their parking lot hasn't helped either (was that really necessary??) because a lot of habitat has been destroyed and the wooded area left is very small now. "The Journey" (another church) along Meramec Station. Rd. has also tripled the size of their parking lot, thereby eliminating another big chunk of wildlife area. Does EVERYTHING have to be a parking lot? Do we really have to cover every natural spot with concrete? I've seen deer directly ON 141 and Bromfield Terrace in the early morning hours, almost hitting one, but thankfully we were able to avoid each other. I'm looking to getting a higher fence for my yard, but ...I can't fence off the highway! I'd much rather have deer in my backyard than another church parking lot. I mean it.

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