Monday, October 12, 2009

Urban deer harvest up 83 percent

By Jim Low
Department of Conservation

JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters checked 1,242 deer during the Urban Portion of Missouri’s Firearms Deer Season Oct. 9 through 12.
Boone County led harvest totals with 247 deer checked, followed by St. Charles County with 160. Greene County was third with 139. The harvest consisted of 80 percent does.
Other county harvest figures were Cass, 89; Christian, 10; Clay, 121; Cole, 39; Franklin, 86; Jackson, 85; Jefferson, 81; Platte, 93; St. Louis, 92.
This year’s Urban Portion deer harvest was nearly double last year’s and more than twice the 2007 harvest. Unseasonably warm weather, with daytime highs in the 70s and 80s, probably played a role in holding down deer harvests those years. Deer use less energy in warm weather and are less likely to move around, reducing their visibility.
Past harvest totals from the urban portion of firearms deer season are 2003, 129; 2004, 2,077; 2005, 1,838; 2006, 1,348; 2007, 554; 2008, 678.
The Missouri Conservation Commission approved the first urban deer hunt in 2003. The Urban Portion encourages hunters to shoot female deer around the state’s main urban centers.
Controlling deer populations in and around the St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia-Jefferson City areas has been more difficult than in rural areas, where hunting is more common. The growth of deer numbers in those areas resulted in increased frequency of deer-vehicle accidents and damage to landscape plantings and crops. In extreme cases, deer browsing can cause ecological damage.

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