Last winter, 288 deer were shot. This winter, to maintain the population of 300 deer, up to 125 deer could be killed.
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). He said, in actuality it will likely be closer to 75 deer that are killed this winter, but the city has to allow for more if White Buffalo crews get out in the field and find the area is more populated than expected.
The city's plan is to reduce the population of deer from 660 to 300, or 30 per square mile. When the plan was approved in October 2011,
However, last winter's total number of deer killed and cost of the program both came in under what was projected.
When the plan was initially passed in 2011, approximatley 50 deer were estimate to be killed this winter. Hoelzer had previously said that that estimate would be reevaluated after last winter's culling.
"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."
Hoelzer said that is the reason behind the increase in the number of deer expected to be taken this winter.
However, former Town and Country alderman and current resident Barbara Hughes is upset by the increased number of deer allowed to be killed this winter and said the city is "addicted" to killing deer."
Hughes told aldermen the deer management program is a failure from a public safety standpoint and said it's a waste of the city's money. She cited the city's deer versus car collisions and said that last year at this time there were 63 collisions, but this year there are currently 65 reported.
Hoelzer said that information is why the number of deer to be taken this year could be up to 125.
"Since this is all about public safety, we will do our best to reduce the numbers," Hoelzer tells Patch. "It just wouldn't be prudent to our public safety to stop at 50 or to stop at 75 if there was an abundance of deer."
Hoelzer said the city won't know the exact number of deer until White Buffalo crews are out in he field, so the city has to allow for the possibility of a higher number of deer to be killed in case they have underestimated the current deer population.
"We're trying to take all of the contingencies into account so if we have underestimated, we'd rather just do this one time and set the maximum amount," Hoelzer explained.
Hoelzer points out that the city is still coming in near the initial estimates when you combine last years 277 deer killed with this year's likely 75.
The $57,250 approved Monday night will fund meat processing, White Buffalo sharpshooting, bait and distance sampling.
As a result of last year's culling, approximately 16,000 pounds of deer meat was harvested and given to those in need through the MDC's Share the Harvest program, according to Alderman Fred Meyland-Smith.
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, the culling will begin in mid-December.
*Check back to Town and Country - Manchester Patch later this week for more on future possibilities for deer management in Town and Country.
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