This week, Wildwood city councilmembers voted down a proposed city ordinance that would have prohibited feeding wildlife, including deer. At the Oct. 8 city council meeting, varying views were presented about the matter.
See previous Eureka-Wildwood Patch article: Don't Feed Bambi in Wildwood
At that same meeting, councilmembers asked Ryan Thomas, Wildwood director of public works/city engineer, to research how many violations and fines had happened in nearby municipalities that already have a non-feeding law in place. Thomas' research indicated the following:
- Town & Country has had their ordinance in place since February of 2009. There have been no enforcement actions taken.
- Ballwin has had their ordinance in place since August of 2005. They took a “soft” approach in the beginning with warnings, but did not believe a summons has ever been written. Compliance has been very good and most of the violations as to feeding the geese are generated from non-residents visiting their parks. The ordinance is posted in the parks, but as usual most don’t notice the postings.
- Chesterfield has had their ordinance in place since 2005, and their court clerk advises there has been no enforcement actions associated with violations.
- Clarkson Valley has had their ordinance in place since 2006; there have been no enforcement actions taken. They indicated they used the threat of enforcement once to gain compliance.
- Ellisville does not have this specific ordinance. They do have an ordinance associated with the proper storage of horse and chicken feed, with no known enforcement action associated with a violation.
(Read Related Story: $57K to Fund Winter Deer Management in Town and Country)
Town and Country Police Captain Gary Hoelzer tells Patch that no formal citations have been issued to residents, however he said there have been warnings and residents have then complied with the city's no-feeding ordinance.
"Struggles over deer management are not unique to Wildwood or St. Louis or even Missouri. This is a common problem in suburban areas throughout much of North America. Other St. Louis municipalities that have dealt with the issue by allowing hunting on private property include Clarkson Valley, Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Manchester and Maryland Heights. Kirkwood and Sunset Hills allow for hunting on the public property of Powder Valley Nature Center. Each of these cities had to change an ordinance to allow for hunting with restrictions they felt were needed for their community," said Erin Shank, Missouri Department of Conservation urban wildlife biologist.
Wildwood has always done a good job of allowing for deer management on private property throughout the city, Shank told Patch.
She said Ellisville more recently took steps to allow for a managed archery hunt on Klamberg Woods Conservation Area, which is public property. The first hunt will be November 2012.
"Town & Country took a different approach on deer management. The city defined their objective of lowering the deer population from approximately 65 deer per square mile down to 30 deer per square mile. To accomplish this, they hired a wildlife contractor experienced in sharpshooting of deer to cull the herd. They also funded a sterilization project where does were surgically sterilized and re-released at the same site," said Shank.
"While Town & Country has certainly spent more money on managing deer, they have also made the greatest strides toward community-wide deer reduction. Surveys conducted in January 2012 indicate that the deer densities are now around 32 deer per square mile."
*Town and Country - Manchester Patch Local Editor Gabrielle Biondo contributed to this report.