Although the Columbia City Council approved an ordinance allowing archery hunting of deer on four city property sites, one expert said the only place you are likely to see a hunter is in the parking lot.
The council unanimously approved the measure Monday night amid the safety concerns of nearby nonhunters, particularly regarding the Grindstone Nature Area, a frequently visited park. John George of the Missouri Department of Conservation said deer hunting occurs far from trails and open areas.
“People at Grindstone won’t even notice the hunters,” he said, adding that deer hunting is done in the early morning and late afternoon, when the nature area sees fewer visitors. “The only place visitors are likely to see hunters is in the parking lot.”
The four areas that will be opened to archery hunting are about 225 acres at the sanitary landfill, 100 acres at Twin Lakes Recreation Area, 100 acres at the Grindstone Nature Area and 100 acres on the sewer utility property on Strawn Road.
George said he is not aware of any other Missouri community taking such an approach to control its deer population, and he commended Columbia for involving residents in the deer population control.
Archery hunting season for deer is from Sept. 15 to Jan. 15. Bow hunters wishing to take advantage of the open city lands must attend one of two pre-hunt meetings to obtain certification. Hunters will carry one certification card, in addition to one displayed on their vehicles. The city has yet to set dates for the meetings and determine if there will be a cost for certification.
Other regulations include prohibiting hunting within 100 feet of a trail or private property. Motorized vehicles will not be allowed for use in hunting, and only portable tree stands will be permitted.
If there are no problems the first year, the city might approve including more areas next year. Previously, archery hunting was only permitted within city limits on private property.