Perche Creek landowners invited to meeting on deer management

The Missouri Department of Conservation called the meeting after hearing complaints from hunters.
Monday, December 27, 2010 | 5:31 p.m. CST

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.

If you go

What: Perche Creek Deer Management Incentive Meeting

Where: Harrisburg Middle School, 233 S. Harris St., Harrisburg

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 7

Contact: 573-817-5857


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“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.

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Dan Meler December 27, 2010 | 7:01 p.m.

Really, we want more deer? I just had one jump through my car windshield in the city limits of Columbia! You can't drive between Moberly and Columbia without seeing a couple of dead deer every day. If anything the population needs to be cut back.

(Report Comment)
Thad Simmons December 28, 2010 | 5:33 a.m.

In some parts of the state, yes we need more deer. I know this doesn't make sense to someone who obvbiously is accustomed to heading down to the local HyVee for all their food but those of us in rural areas depend on the deer hunt to supplement our food supply. Not all of us make the kind of money that people in the city make and we depend on a good deer hunt to fill out freezers. Between the deer hunt in the fall, and the spring and fall turkey hunts, my family takes about three fourths of its meat for the year. The reast is gotten through squirrell and fishing local lakes and streams and the Missouri River. We buy very little of the high priced, hormone laden HyVee and Walmart meat and could never afford what local farmers want to charge for grass fed beef at places like Clovers.
So yes, we need an adequate deer hunt. I normally need to take two deer every year to keep my freezer full and to get me through to the next year. If I get mroe than that, I typically share with my neighbors or donate to Share the Harvest, a local program that provides fresh deer meat to the poor. This year I've not seen a single deer behind my property in Hartsburg. None of my neighbors have seen any. Together we have close to a hundred acres of woodland that we share and hunt, no deer at all this year. I was lucky enough that one of my friends from Harrisburg got two this year and was able to give me one of them but going into this summer my freezer is not as full as it usually is which will mean more of my money spent at the grocery store. Hopefully this helps you understand why the local deer hunt is so important to rural people.

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