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Urban Deer Hunting Possible in Springfield City Limits

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The idea of legally being able to hunt deer in Springfield has been discussed. The Department of Conservation says regulating the overabundance of deer in the city is best done by hunting.
A deer ratio of less than 30 deer per square miles is a good number, but here in Springfield we have ratios that in some parts of Springfield are as high as 102 to 120 deer per square miles.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Seeing deer and other wildlife in Erin Burlew's backyard is common each morning.

"I do see deer but I still would be hesitant to send my own son out to shoot the deer."

Francis Skalicky, from the Department of Conservation, says Springfield has three times as many deer as other urban cities. The population is estimated at more than 9,000.

"A deer ratio of less than 30 deer per square miles is a good number, but here in Springfield we have ratios that in some parts of Springfield are as high as 102 to 120 deer per square miles."

Skalicky says Springfield City Council asked for advice on reducing the population.

"Our advice is hunting is the best way to do it," says Skalicky.

Right now, its illegal to fire a weapon in city limits, but cities like Branson and Lake Ozark allow bow hunting during the fall season within the city.

Springfield Council member Cindy Rushefsky worries about the possible change.

"They've proposed the right of private property owners to allow deer hunts on their property."

Rushefsky says high powered weapons and the city do not mix.

"The idea of being able to discharge any kind of powerful weapon like a crossbow within the city limits, really has me concerned," says Rushefsky.

"Archery hunting is a very safe activity, as I said, its a short range activity, its done from tree stands," explains Skalicky.

Rushefsky says before its allowed, questions must be answered.

"I think we've got to be careful, we've got to be sensible about it, at the very least, set some reasonable limitations."

Skalicky says its up to City Council for limitations.

"They all have their own specifics based on what works for that community."

Burlew knows deer will be hunted, but she is torn between the idea of urban deer hunting.

"I would want that hunter to be experienced and know what he is doing before he took his bow into a yard and tried to thin out the population."

If you would like to learn more, the Missouri Department of Conservation will hold several open houses to discuss the idea of urban deer hunting. All events begin at 3 pm – 8 pm.

June 16 – Rolla Junior High, Rolla, MO

June 17- Missouri State University Christopher Bond Learning Center, Springfield, MO

June 19 - Warsaw Community Building Gym, Warsaw, MO

June 26 - West Plains Civic Center Exhibit Hall, West Plains, MO
 
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