Cape Girardeau City Council discusses urban deer hunting

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It's an idea the city council is looking into to keep down the deer population in the city.

Some people say the deer are running through their neighborhoods, yards, and streets. They say it's dangerous for cars, and a nuisance for their homes. Some even say it's "unbearable."

Other people in the city say their children have grown accustomed to watching the deer in their yard, and that this is not the way to control the population.

City council members discussed the issue in the study session, meaning no decision was made Monday evening, and they still want to gather information. But all city council members did agree they want to move forward with more research to see if this is something they will implement inside city limits.

Joel Porath with the Missouri Department of Conservation says it can be a fine line with regulations placed on an urban hunting ordinance to encourage people to hunt, but not leave the rules too loose.

But he says it's worked in other communities like Kansas City, Saint Louis, and Columbia.

"It doesn't take very long for deer to be scared of people and view us as predators," said Porath. "And they've adapted to urban environments because we are not predators to them anymore."

"If there is a problem, and they want to work on solving it, I believe urban bow hunting is the safest most ethical," said Michael Calahan, a bow hunter.

But some people still aren't convinced saying this can be dangerous for pets and children living in the area.

"There's different controls you can put on it," said Porath. "Archery hunters have to be very close have to have a good shot, have to have a vital zone from an elevated platform down, that's not going to happen."

"Firearms hunting is just invariably more dangerous," said Calahan. "Bow hunting is safe because it's an up close sport. Most shots taken bow hunting are taken at 20 yard or less."

Council members discussed maybe placing requirements like hunters must shoot a doe before a buck in order to keep the population down, and options like being able to donate the meat through a program.

They also discussed forming a committee to gather information on the issue. They say they want to hear from the community before making any decisions.

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