Cape Girardeau voters reject deer hunt in city

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | 12:34 p.m. CDT; updated 3:44 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 3, 2013

CAPE GIRARDEAU — Bow hunting will not be used to thin the increasing deer herd in Cape Girardeau after voters in the southeast Missouri town narrowly defeated a ballot measure.

The Southeast Missourian reported that Tuesday's vote was 1,485 to 1,279 to repeal an ordinance allowing deer hunting. It was the first time in city history an ordinance was repealed by referendum. Turnout was light, with just more than 10 percent of registered voters going to the polls.

The city council approved the deer hunt last July after months of debate. Opponents then collected enough signatures to put the issue on Tuesday's ballot.

Mayor Harry Rediger said he had no interest in pursuing the issue further.

"It says to me we have this behind us now, and we really need to move on to other things with our citizens, council and staff. We have a lot of things to look forward to in 2013," Rediger said.

A group called Keep Cape Safe opposed urban hunting and gathered about 4,000 signatures to put the referendum on the ballot.

Resident Phil Hinkle said he was worried about the possibility of hunters injuring, but not killing, deer, prompting his vote against the referendum.

"A wounded deer is more of a danger to the community and other property than anything in the form of a live deer," he said.

The Missouri Department of Conservation said the city has an average density of 37 deer per square mile, similar to densities in other state communities where action has been taken to reduce the herd.


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