CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - New data might persuade voters on whether or not to move forward with an urban deer hunt in Cape Girardeau.
The Missouri Department of Conservation conducted a deer population survey during the past few months.
Agents drove two separate courses simultaneously in the city limits to spot and count deer.
At Monday night's city council meeting, Matt Bowyer presented the findings.
He said they saw about 136 deer per night.
The data shows a density of about 37 deer per square mile in Cape Girardeau. Agents say the optimal deer density is about 20 deer per square mile, and the social capacity is about 40 deer per square mile.
"You typically start getting complaints about deer around 40 deer per square mile, so it's not surprising at all that the overall density of the deer across the city is 37," said Bowyer.
"We don't shoot every squirrel, raccoon, opossum, or every kid who runs through your yard, so optimally, we just learn to accept the deer"," said Keith Lear, a Cape Girardeau resident.
"We can't really give any recommendations to the city, they've kind of made that recommendation already by proposing a deer hunt, I think it's up to the residents to decide if that's what they should go for or not," said Bowyer.
"To me, you know if you eliminate the deer in those areas, you know other deer are going to move in because there's habitat for them, so it will be a continuing battle, that you're not going to win," said Lear.
"Deer don't necessarily migrate, so they tend to stay where habitat is available to them, so they don't necessarily are going to move in or out, but if you can limit deer in one given area, you might be able to keep other deer from moving in by continuing to maintain that population some way," said Bowyer.
"I don't understand why we can't have hey look this is downtown Cape, look how beautiful it is, we have the casino, we're a growing city, but you can also drive through these areas and see deer just walking through people's yards, you know why couldn't they use those things as a tourist attraction," said Lear.
On April 2nd, Cape Girardeau voters will decide whether or not to repeal the ordinance allowing an urban deer hunt.