Deer hunting opponents gather signatures at Cape Girardeau polls

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Dave LeLine signs a referendum petition with Gene Pulley, left, outside the Arena Building Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012 in Cape Girardeau. Keep Cape Safe volunteers are working to gather 2,446 signatures needed to put the urban deer hunting question to voters. (Fred Lynch)

EDITOR'S NOTE: The cost of a special election has been corrected.

Thanks to the number of signatures it collected Tuesday, anti-deer hunting group Keep Cape Safe says it is closer to getting the issue before voters.

Members of the group set up petition drives outside polling places during Tuesday's primary election. The totals were not available Tuesday night, but members in multiple locations reported getting between 50 and 100 each Tuesday. The group is inching closer to the 2,446 petition signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot, which would suspend the ordinance until the election. The ordinance would allow archery hunts on selected parcels within Cape Girardeau city limits. The group had collected 1,500 signatures as of last week.

On Monday, the city council rejected an emergency measure that would have put the hunting question on the November ballot.

Stephen Stigers, organizer of Keep Cape Safe, a subgroup of Cape Friends of Wildlife, said Tuesday night that group members will be working to get their petitions notarized during the next several days and that the group should know by the end of the week if it will be able to get the referendum on a ballot.

The cost of a special election -- which could be $25,000 -- is an issue for the group, according to Stigers, so he is hopeful the referendum could be put before voters in an already scheduled upcoming election.

"Our mission is not to cost the taxpayers money," he said.

Stigers said the petition committee could opt to postpone placing the referendum on a ballot. The group cannot get the referendum on the ballot in November due to charter-mandated waiting periods.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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