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Hunting or trapping? Cape council to give direction on deer management

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Cape Girardeau City Council is being asked to make its choice on how best to thin the herd -- allowing urban deer hunting within the city limits or creating a program that calls for trapping and euthanizing the animals that are being blamed for increased car wrecks and tattered landscapes.

And if the support levels don't change before the council's pre-meeting study session at 5 p.m. today, it appears as though city staff will be told to draft an ordinance that would implement a regulated archery program this fall.

An item on the council's agenda calls for an update on urban deer management. City manager Scott Meyer said that will include reviewing the research city officials have done on both programs. A timeline of how quickly either program could be implemented will also be offered and a plan will be outlined on how a deer count will be conducted this fall.

Then, Meyer said, he's hoping to get some direction from council members on how to proceed.

"We'd like to get enough specificity so the next step would be to prepare an ordinance," Meyer said. "What they tell us won't tie them into those things, it just means that's what we'd put in the first draft of an ordinance."

Council procedures, which include voting at two separate meetings, means an ordinance could be in place within the next month or so, Meyer said. The public would be allowed to weigh in on the controversial issue that has sparked the creation of an opposition group, Cape Friends of Wildlife, that says a regulated hunt is inhumane.

But that looks to be the way the council is leaning. Five of the seven members say they support an archery program that, as proposed by Councilman John Voss, would require specialized training, education and written consent from property owners.

Voss said Friday he hopes the council is able to reach a consensus tonight.

"My personal hope is that we're able to quickly align or agree on one plan and begin to implement that," Voss said.

Voss is hopeful that a program is up and running by September, which coincides with the state's regular bow hunting season. July and August could be used to put together policies, procedures and a permitting process. That period would also provide adequate time for multiple training courses with the Missouri Department of Conservation as well as required education courses for the hunters to learn the specific requirements of the ordinance.

"Those things take time to be done properly, to be done with a high quality," Voss said. "I was hoping I would get staff to recognize that our backs are getting up against the wall pretty quickly if we're going to make that mid-September time frame."

The two council members who oppose urban deer hunting are Kathy Swan and Loretta Schneider. Schneider recently proposed an alternative to bow hunting with her idea of trapping the deer, euthanizing them and then donating the meat to local food banks. Scheider realizes the odds are stacked against her, but she said she's not wavering.

"I know that I am in the minority," she said. "But I'm staying with the way that I feel about it now."

Swan said they would like to see the results of a deer count, which is in the works for this fall, before making a decision. Without a count, she remains unconvinced that there is a problem, she said. She's concerned that a deer hunt may contribute to accidents, rather than detract from them, if deer injured by arrows run out into traffic. She has seen no research about accidents resulting from urban deer hunting programs in other communities where it is allowed.

"I am not ready to vote on a deer management program until we get the results of the survey either way," Swan said. "My first priority is the safety of our citizens and I want to ensure that any program we adopt is one that makes that a top priority, so a thorough research of ordinances in those communities would be in order."

Swan also favors conducting a poll to gauge whether citizens would want such a program. If the survey does not indicate a problem and the citizens don't want one, then the point is moot, she said. If the survey suggests a problem and residents want one, then the city should proceed, she said.

Still, a majority of the council members -- Voss, Mark Lanzotti, Mayor Harry Rediger, Trent Summers and Meg Davis Proffer -- disagree.

"I think there's been sufficient time to analyze the situation and provide opportunity to those who oppose the measure to voice their opinion," Summers said. " ... I still favor the use of an urban hunt."

smoyers@semissourian.com

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Pertinent address:

401 Independence, Cape Girardeau, MO


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I think you have a point Kathy. If a deer is shot by a hunter, and it is hit by a car and it dies, who gets the deer, the hunter, the driver, or some welfare recipient?

-- Posted by thewonder on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 8:00 AM

"Swan also favors conducting a poll to gauge whether citizens would want such a program."

And it should be a city vote. NOT a decision made by people who are being pressured by special interests. If a single person or pet is harmed because they rammed this down the throats of the majority of the city, who doesn't want hunting in their yards, each and every person who helped ram it through will be responsible for the harm THEY cause.

NO HUNTING IN MY CITY.....

-- Posted by Mudflopper on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 8:39 AM

I've said since the beginning that it should be voted on by the citizens of Cape. Put it on the ballot, find out this is NOT what the majority wants, and put an end to all this nonsense.

NO HUNTING IN MY CITY.....

-- Posted by Cat'sEye on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 9:12 AM

It should not be a city vote....if you don't come in contact with the deer on a daily basis you have no idea what is happening. Why should someone vote when they don't have to deal with deer droppings in their yard?...the majority of the people in Cape just see them on the side of the road and think they are just so adorable to look at; I can tell you this...there are a lot more people who don't want the deer around than have spoken out for fear of being branded an animal hater...most of you just don't get this issue at all!

-- Posted by Agnes on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 10:02 AM

It's sad it has come to this. People keep encroaching on areas that used to be open to wildlife forcing them to look for food near people. Do Ms Swan and Ms Schneider really believe that trapping a deer and holding it until someone can get around to killing it is more humane than a quick kill? The deer won't just lie down and wait. Who is going to check the traps several times a day? Being in a panic mode for several hours, or perhaps even a day or two, could make the meat unfit to eat therefore wasting the possible use of the trapped deer.

-- Posted by calypso12 on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 11:30 AM

There are several cities in Missouri that currently have a urban deer hunt because of this problem. They have been successful. I say run a 2 year hunt, with names drawn from hunters that put in for it, if it works, continue the hunt, if it don't, disban it.

-- Posted by TravisSheppard on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 1:26 PM

Looks as if this is going through. It is the ONLY reasonable approach to this situation and has been proven safe in 11 other municipalities in the state.

The evidence shows this is safe. If the two councilpersons choose to ignore the fact, that is their problem.

-- Posted by semorider on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 1:47 PM

"I know that I am in the minority," she said. "But I'm staying with the way that I feel about it now."

Pursuing a personal agenda with total disregard to the voice of the citizens is exactly what is wrong with politics - at EVERY level. Whether a paid position or not, holding any office should be about conveying the voice of the people who put you there. Schneider would make a good dictator.

-- Posted by malan on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 2:19 PM

Of the well over 35,000 residents of this City how many are having this deer problem? How many have complained? Contrary to Agnes's post, this is indeed a City issue that should involve every voter and NOT just the VERY FEW who are having issues with the deer eating their shrubs and ornamentals. Build a fence (allow those who have problems to build taller fence) or use the many repellents that are available. An urban hunt to satisfy a few complainers is not the answer here.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 2:51 PM

I invite everyone who thinks deer aren't dangerous and very much a problem to watch the first episode of the new History Channel show "United Stats Of America." The first episode dealt with statistical dangers. The most dangerous jobs, cities etc. Guess what is the most dangerous animal in the U.S.A., responsible for more deaths and injuries than any other? It's the common white tail deer! They are overpopulated everywhere and need to be thinned out. It's not just a Cape Girardeau problem, it's nationwide.

-- Posted by Data48 on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 3:12 PM

NO HUNTING IN MY CITY.....

-- Posted by Lemika on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 9:12 AM

NO HUNTING IN MY CITY.....

-- Posted by Mudflopper on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 8:39 AM

I find these statements to be the height of arrogance. Guess what? It's my town also and I have no problem with a properly conducted urban hunt. Of course, I've bothered to collect information from cities that have already had the hunts and came to an informed and logical conclusion based on that info instead of just having an emotional outburst!

-- Posted by Data48 on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 3:42 PM

Well stated as usual Data48!

-- Posted by semorider on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 10:13 PM


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