Low deer count cancels annual hunt for first time since 2004

Park staff counted only 28 deer during a February search.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | 7:23 p.m. CDT; updated 10:05 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The annual deer hunt at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park has been canceled this year because of a reduced deer count.

In February, park staff in helicopters counted a total of 28 deer, said Jim Gast, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park superintendent. According to park policy, organized deer hunts can only occur if there are 25 deer per square mile.

Gast said the low count is not cause for alarm. He said ice and sleet around the time of the aerial surveys might have led to the dispersal of deer to open fields outside the park to forage. Deer might also have sheltered themselves under cedar trees out of the helicopter’s view, Gast said.

Another hypothesis Gast has is that the deer were not spooked by the helicopter and did not stir out of their hiding places as in past years.

This is the first time since 2004 that the park has canceled the hunt, according to state park records. Gast said deer hunts were organized in 2002 to reduce the burgeoning deer population that damaged park vegetation and were hit by cars on the highway. State park records indicate between 70 and 80 does or nonantlered deer are killed each year at these hunts. Gast said an average of 80 hunters usually participate in the hunt.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.