Drop proposed deer regs

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Matt Bartle of Lee's Summit, Mo., represents the 8th District in the Missouri Senate. He wrote the following letter to John Hoskins, executive director of the Missouri Department of Conservation in Jefferson City, Mo.

It has come to my attention that the conservation commission has proposed a draft rule that would require citizens to own at least 80 acres of land before they would be allowed to hunt deer on their own property without purchasing a permit. In addition, I understand that permit fees for Missouri residents are also scheduled to increase by $3. These proposals are misguided and could not come at a worse time. Missouri families are suffering the effects of a slowing economy and are trying to make ends meet. For many, being able to stock their freezers with venison is a significant cost savings.

As a practical matter, allowing landowners to harvest a few of the deer that roam their property, without having to buy a permit, is only fitting considering the loss of crops and other damage they incur throughout the year. It is these same landowners that also provide an important benefit to our state by helping to manage a deer population that threatens to mushroom out of control.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is the envy of the rest of the nation. While most state conservation departments rely heavily on permit fees and state appropriations for their operating expenses, the MDC is supported by a generous and dedicated stream of sales tax revenue.

Over the past several years, many millions of dollars taken from these sales taxes, paid by Missouri citizens, have been used by the MDC to purchase excessively large tracts of land across the Show Me State. Now, the MDC wants to further regulate the use of thousands of additional privately owned acres by mandating that these landowners purchase hunting permits.

I believe the Department of Conservation has overreached with this proposal. I respectfully request the department to reconsider and to withdraw this proposed rule change.

The commission dropped its proposals Friday after receiving numerous comments like this.

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