COLUMBIA — A decreasing number of deer is causing complaints from landowners in northwestern Boone County, so the Missouri Department of Conservation will hold a public meeting on deer management on Jan. 7 in Harrisburg.
Lonnie Hansen, a resource scientist and deer biologist for the conservation department, will give a presentation at the meeting regarding localized approaches to deer management.
What: Perche Creek Deer Management Incentive Meeting
Where: Harrisburg Middle School, 233 S. Harris St., Harrisburg
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 7
“We’d like to get landowners to work cooperatively,” Hansen said. Other deer biologists, private land conservationists, wildlife biologists and staff from the conservation department will be on site to lead the discussion.
Some landowners from the Harrisburg area have complained to the department about the decreasing deer numbers in the area. The complaints have been on the rise this year, Hansen said.
Generally, the deer population in northern Missouri is decreasing, while it is stable or slowly increasing in southern parts of the state. Hansen said the combination of a liberal hunting season and the outbreak of an infectious and fatal blood disease known as epizootic hemorrhagic disease has caused deer numbers to decline more than expected.
Despite the declines statewide, the deer population in 2009 was still about 1.4 million, conservation department spokesman Jim Low said. Hunters, however, are taking fewer deer. During the November portion of the 2010 firearms season, for example, hunters killed 188,205 deer. Last year, they killed 193,155. That's a drop of 2.6 percent.
Boone County conservation agent Sean Ernst said he shares Hansen's goals for the Harrisburg meeting.
“We want to better inform local landowners and deer enthusiasts on quality deer management as well as create an open forum between citizens in the Perche Creek area and encourage cooperation between landowners with the same goals in mind,” he said.
Hansen said he hopes the meeting will help landowners understand that they can manage deer on their properties by cooperating with neighbors.
“The Department of Conservation is going to start utilizing local partnerships in order to better manager the deer herd,” Ernst said.
The conservation department has held similar meetings in other parts of the state, but Hansen said this will be the first in Harrisburg.
“Ultimately we will expand to other areas in state,” said Hansen.