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Cape Girardeau deer hunting ordinance repealed

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A motorist travels past a herd of deer off of Lexington Avenue on Tuesday evening, April 2, 2013, between Sprigg Street and Old Sprigg Street Road.
(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
Cape Girardeau voters on Tuesday repealed an ordinance that would have allowed bow hunting for deer within the city limits, bringing to a close what could be the last chapter in a long-debated controversy.

"It says to me we have this behind us now, and we really need to move on to other things with our citizens, council and staff. We have a lot of things to look forward to in 2013," Mayor Harry Rediger said Tuesday night after the votes were counted. "Yes" votes to repeal the ordinance were 1,485, while "No" votes were 1,279.

The vote marked the first time in the city's history an ordinance was repealed by referendum.

Management of the city's deer population had been brought up in city council at times before fall of 2011. But it was at that time the council began discussions and a citizen committee was formed to study urban hunting programs in other communities and to hear from conservation experts. Public meetings were held, and in response to the "deer issue," as the constantly evolving conversation became called among residents and the council, an opposition group, Cape Friends of Wildlife, formed.

An ordinance creating an archery hunting program recommended by the committee passed through the council 4-3 in July.

After reorganizing itself into a new group called Keep Cape Safe, those opposed to urban hunting gathered about 4,000 signatures from registered voters when only 2,446 were needed. When the council did not vote to repeal the ordinance, the referendum sent it to the ballot.

As the election was approaching, a density survey of the city's deer population was conducted by the Missouri Department of Conservation, which found the city has an average density of 37 deer per square mile -- an amount the department said is similar to densities seen elsewhere in the state where communities have taken action to reduce the herd.

Dr. Stephen Stigers, who led both opposition groups, was concerned how the wording of ballot language might affect the outcome of the special election, since voters were asked to choose "Yes" if they wanted to repeal the ordinance, which would mean hunting would not be allowed, and were asked to choose "No" if they wanted the ordinance to stay in place and hunting to be allowed.

But by Tuesday night, those worries were gone.

"I'm thinking that I really am proud of our community, and I am really proud of all the folks that worked to make this happen," he said. "This was Cape Girardeau's first referendum. It's historic in a small way, maybe. I think it has a lot to teach us about difficult choices. Violence and cruelty are never good choices."

Turnout was low, with less than 2,800 votes cast, but the number also was fairly reflective of turnout across Cape Girardeau County, which saw 10.2 percent of registered voters head to the polls, according to the summary report from the county's election center.

Early on Tuesday, turnout was low in multiple polling locations, but the reason some voters did come out was evident.

One voter's car at Westminster Presbyterian Church was decked out with an opinion on the deer question.

"Control the urban deer population," read signs adhered to the back windows. "Please vote no on April 2. Give plants and small animals a chance."

One precinct seeing plenty of traffic early Tuesday afternoon was Precinct 16, where election officials said nearly 200 people had voted by 1 p.m. at La Croix United Methodist Church.

By about 2 p.m., 180 people had voted at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. Early in the day, one of the city's busiest polling places, the Brase Arena Building, was evacuated for about 20 minutes for a gas smell from a pilot light.

Cape Girardeau County Clerk Kara Clark Summers predicted last week the voter turnout in the county would be around 15 percent.

Four voters who declined to give their names said they voted "no" on the deer hunting question, and provided various reasons for doing so.

"I didn't really feel strongly either way," said one man, "but I think the hunting will be very limited. I don't think it will be a problem."

The ordinance would have required hunters to get permission from property owners before hunting, required use of an elevated stand in an area containing less than 10 acres of land and prohibited hunting on less than three acres of land. The ordinance also stated certain rules for firing arrows near property lines and onto private and public property, and required that hunters perform a "reasonable search" for a deer they injured or killed.

Injured deer and the problems they could cause were the reason Phil Hinkle said he voted to repeal the ordinance.

"A wounded deer is more of a danger to the community and other property than anything in the form of a live deer," he said.

Another voter said she felt like the deer management committee and the city council did enough research to convince her that a program was needed, so she voted "no."

Rediger said he has no interest in pursuing any additional action to create an urban hunting program in Cape Girardeau.

The city's Ward 6 has a new councilman after Wayne Bowen's election. He ran unopposed.



Pertinent address:

1820 Perryville Road, Cape Girardeau, MO

3102 Lexington Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO

804 N. Cape Rock Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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I can't wait to see the vote breakdown by precinct. I wonder how many of those yes voters actually live on the north side of town and have to dodge deer with their cars.

-- Posted by Jason on Tue, Apr 2, 2013, at 8:39 PM

Your news blurb says, "An effort to repeal an ordinance creating an urban deer hunting program to control the deer population went down in defeat." No! The effort to repeal the ordinance was successful. The subject of your sentence is "effort to repeal" and "went down in defeat" is your predicate. You have said the exact opposite of what you meant to say, because the repeal was successful.

-- Posted by Liz in Cape on Tue, Apr 2, 2013, at 9:14 PM

Well, checking by precinct, it looks like the precincts with the smallest deer populations are the ones that passed this repeal. The only exception appears to be precinct one, but those results are combined with precinct four, so it's tough to tell if there was disparity in one or not.

-- Posted by Jason on Tue, Apr 2, 2013, at 10:12 PM

For us folks who haven't followed every word of this story, particularly when it got convoluted, give it to us in simple English:

Yes, there will be deer hunting, or NO, there will not be deer hunting inside the city.

-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Tue, Apr 2, 2013, at 11:20 PM

Thank god this deal is done, time to move on.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 6:38 AM

Although in favor of the repeal I'am disappointed at the voter turn. I completely agree with swampeast in that it is time to move forward and take care of constructive buisness that faces this City. It is not dog parks and ball fields or parking lots! The City Council needs to begin thinking AHEAD. If nothing else, just start thinking!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 6:56 AM

I would have bet a thousand dollars that the deer hunting would not pass, the wording beat the issue yes to allow deer hunting no not to allow was to simple to use they had to confuse the issue with wording that alot of people did not understand what it meant, good going cape leaders you did it again. I'm glad I don't live there anymore what a joke.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 7:14 AM

If one can't figure out the wording, in order to vote their choice, they really have no business voting. Educate yourselves voters!

-- Posted by bball15 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 7:18 AM

Graywolf you can foget that, that bunch i don't think are capable of thinking, as long as they have money to blow that will take up all there thinking.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 7:22 AM

Well, I hope the citizens are prepared for more wreck and damage, and an even bigger problem: coyotes. Coyotes love to prey on deer. They will flock to where the pickings are easy. Good luck to all the people in Cape with small dogs and cats!

-- Posted by bowhunter11 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 7:42 AM

I like the deer, and I live in the affected area. I see them every day on my way home from work - I like seeing them; I think they are pretty. I'm glad the City Council lost. I think they are ugly.

-- Posted by Day-Glo-Dago on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 7:54 AM

Gee bowhunter11, I have several coyotes that visit my area and have for many years. I have yet to have a problem with any of them. As for any issue with them eating small dogs or cats. Seems to me, cats should be kept inside as there are leash laws in the City and, small dogs should be inside at night or in a fenced in area and or supervised, which is also a City ordinance.

ssinteriors, you must have read a different ballot then the one I read yesterday. If one read the entire wording it was simplistic enough for anyone to understand! That arguement hold no water.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:06 AM

"Violence and Cruelty". This guy is living in a storybook.

-- Posted by thewonder on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:15 AM

They're trying to destroy our way of life!

-- Posted by Lippy Radeck on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:24 AM

Now people are going to have to take the problem into their own hands. When mice and rats invade your property and cause damage, you can poison them, despite the fact that they are furry, soft, cuddly, and defenseless creatures. When insects chew on your house and crawl around in your kitchen, you can put them to an agonizing death with all kinds of chemicals. When animals such as deer invade your property and destroy your yard, you can protect your yard from such pests. Use your imagination! Be rational! Be serious about it.

-- Posted by serious on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:38 AM

Seems like Cape is consistently on the "other side" of every issue. Many communities in Missouri have adopted urban deer hunting programs as a way to control the population - but NOT Cape. Many Missouri communities have also adopted smoking ordinances to control exposure to second hand smoke - but NOT Cape. I wonder how our community is perceived by the rest of the state?? Where is the leadership???

-- Posted by chinook on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:54 AM

I am going to buy a crossbow.

-- Posted by semorider on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:59 AM

People who think that deer hunting in the city limits doesn't already occur must live under a rock.

-- Posted by dooley on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 9:04 AM

I have driven in Cape Girardeau for the better part of three decades and have never had an issue with a Deer, but I have had an issue with the criminal element. Thank God the Deer issue is finally behind us! Perhaps now the city leaders can move on to something along the lines of making the city a better place to live and work, and even touch just a little bit on the crime rate!

-- Posted by arrestthem on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 9:06 AM

Thank You From The Deer we like it here

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 9:12 AM

Chinook, fyi the cictizens spoke loudly on both those issues at the polls! Like it or not. What's wrong with letting buisness owners make the choice to allow smoking in their establishments? Those of you who prefer to make a choice not to smoke can also make a choice not to frequent those establishments. I call that civil liberties. As for the urban hunt issue, it also went through the democratic process and the voters spoke again.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 9:16 AM

Another example of wording a vote in a matter to confuse people. Again, the citizens of Cape Girardeau in a traditionally under informed knee jerk reaction, take another step backwards.

-- Posted by variable on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 9:16 AM

A bucket full of ethylene glycol will make a nice tasty desert drink for deer.

-- Posted by semorider on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 9:32 AM

I wonder how many people will have to have deer incidents before people understand why this was needed.

Oh and by the way Chinook, don't worry about how the rest of the state sees us. Most people seem to forget that there is a part of Missouri below Perryville.

-- Posted by Pops90 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 10:01 AM

Violence and cruelty?! You got your way Mr. Stigers but you haven't gotten any smarter. This shouldn't have ever gone to a vote...it should have been settled like other counties...what a waste of time...I am glad it's over with too...we have nothing to be proud of the way it was handled. If you want to move on Mr. Rediger, please focus on the Esquire Theatre and the old ice rink...how long can you allow those two buildings to be such eyesores?

-- Posted by Agnes on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 10:35 AM

Thought so! Who wants these yayhoos running around Cape not being able to get a "kill shot" in with a bow!! Bunch of goofy ne'r-do-wells as hunters!!

-- Posted by vietnamvet on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 10:48 AM

You are correct, Agnes. This was not something that should have been settled by the citizens. It is a safety issue and the City Council should have just said this is what we are going to do. In other cities where thinning the deer was needed, it was not left up to the citizens. It seems the Mayor is only interested in streets he can pave, etc. with the casino money - that is his big "GET" for being Mayor. And, why are the Esquire and skating rink not on the "to be demolished" list?

-- Posted by Sunday on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:13 AM

Where have you been Sunday...sleeping! The City Council DID say this is what they are going to do! Then according to our democratic procees on the books here in Cape a petition was distributed and signed by the required registered voters and put a hold on what the Council decided. Yesterday the process was finished with a vote by the citizens that resulted in a repeal of the Councils ordinance.

Semorider, I sure hope your dog gets a taste of that Anti-freeze along with the deer! What a ridiculous comment. Sure speaks volumes about your attitude and criminal mind!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:26 AM

@ Stigers

"Violence and cruelty are never good choices." Well, you obviously showed your alternative motive in the urban hunting debate with your anti-hunting comment. Your view/group had nothing to do with "keeping cape safe." I respect your right to have an opinion against hunting but unless you are a vegetarian, your comment that Bowhunting is violent and cruel is absolutely hypocritical. The animals that a hunter eats live far better lives and die much more humane deaths than the caged animals that everyday America eats. But keep your shutters on Stigers, you are a saint in your own eyes.

I am glad this debate is over and the public has spoken...well partially. Stigers did a great job pushing this to the spring election that had very limited turnout compared to the fall election, giving his group the upper hand. I hate politics.

On to bigger issues CGMO!

-- Posted by ,n sense on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:26 AM

I like animals. I also like meat. Animals need to be killed. If you are against killing animals because you are offended by it, but you eat meat, then you are a fraud. How many cow, pig, and chicken deaths are you responsible for?

Why should a deer get preferential treatment over a mole? Does the mole not value life as much as the deer? It almost certainly has a more challenging life lifting dirt to survive than the deer in town that merely feed on a smorgasboard in front of their faces. Why not have more sympathy for the mole? We don't. We kill them because they destroy our lawns. We don't actually see the moles. Let's be rational. Let's be serious!

-- Posted by serious on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:27 AM

I voted to retain the deer hunting ordinance, but honestly it wouldn't make a lick of difference in the deer populations or the number of deer incidents.

There is simply far to many deer and far to few potential bowhunters that would have jumped through the ordinance hoops required to legally hunt to even have put a 1% dent in the population.

-- Posted by Nil on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:30 AM


I attribute these results to voter apathy and a fundamental misunderstanding of the issues, not a reflection of "the will of the people".

-- Posted by chinook on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:43 AM

I wish some people would have this much energy on helping law enforcement fight crime in Cape Girardeau as they did on this two year old ordeal.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:59 AM

We don't need some gung-ho redneck trying to impress his wife and neighbors that he's a hunter. The city was just asking for problems having open hunting season on deer.

-- Posted by drummz54 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 11:59 AM

chinook, I disagree completely. Yes we had a very low turn out. However, if 7000 had voted which would be incredible, the ordinance would have still been repealed IMHO. I can only assume that everyone posting here in favor of the urban hunt lives within the City limits!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 12:02 PM

"The animals that a hunter eats live far better lives and die much more humane deaths than the caged animals that everyday America eats.

I am a avid hunter n,sense and disagree with that statement. Seems to me, domestic animals raised for food live a very fine existance. They are fed very well and do not have to travel miles each day to find that food source. In my many trips to the butchers these animals in almost every case are killed instantly. Not at all true with bow hunting by any means of your imagination. I have also not seen any "lawns" ruined by our deer population. Perhaps a few shrubs and ornimaentals. Hardly a good reason to allow hunting in the City limits.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 12:10 PM

@semorider Grey wolf is absolutely right about your comment regarding the antifreeze. I held my dog in my arms while she died from that, because of someone who intentionally put it out with your same thought process. It wasn't meant for her, but killed her none the less. Innocent animals suffer because of inhumane and stupid people, there are other ways of dealing with these situations. Animals and innocent children can't comprehend the danger of something like that, what would you do if a child consumed it and died?

-- Posted by Sunflower Girl on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 12:20 PM

@ Neighwolf

The animals I hunt are free roaming. Yea domestic all domestic livestock live great lives right? Lets take chickens for example. They live in coops they can't stand or walk in, stacked on each other with feces covering their bodies until the day they are butchered. But your right, they live wonderful lives.

With as much as you talk about wounding animals, maybe you should spend more time practicing with your bow and less time arguing on semissourian. I am quite effective with the weapons I use to harvest animals and very rarely make a bad or immortal shot.

-- Posted by ,n sense on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 12:43 PM

I talked to 10 Cape voters. 5 of them were voting to repeal because they didn't want people shooting rifles in the city limits.

Enough said.

-- Posted by thewaterboy on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 1:15 PM

I agree with serious - why does a deer deserve to live any more than a roach or a mole? Why all the fake sincerity for a flea-carrying animal that doesn't belong in urban areas.

Animals occupy 98% of the world surface. Humans occupy 2%. There is nothing wrong with trying to keep some animals out of our back yards.

Several years ago 2 large bucks jumped into my yard over a 6 foot fence. We happened to see them when it happened. They were in complete panic. Banged into things and then finally jumped over the fence again after about 4-5 minutes. Left some hide on the fence. Had a child been in the yard who knows what would have happened.

And then that lady in Ellisvile was struck by a deer and nearly killed. Rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Ellisville refused to thin the herd until that. I believe they now allow it. What will it take people?

-- Posted by Dug on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 1:24 PM

They were not going to be able to shoot rifles in the city limits. The law was for bow hunting. People need to get their facts straight. This is why people are so stupid because they do not do the research themselves on issues. They depend on groups like KEEP CAPE SAFE to inform them on facts of issues. These groups are dangerous groups who will lie and steal to get what they want. Come on people do a little research.

-- Posted by drivennail on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 1:55 PM

n,sense, your arguement relating domestic raised animals for slaughter to killing deer in City limits is not worth debate. This issue is over and, it seems to have worked out the way I hoped. As for practicing my bow, no need. I no longer hunt with a bow as my shoulder will not allow it. As for debating issues here, isn't that my decision and not yours!?

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 3:06 PM

Was the ordinance against feeding deer tied to this one, or is it still against the law to feed deer?

-- Posted by dhinkle57 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 3:15 PM


I certainly live within the city limits - in a subdivision and I'm tired of the deer running all over my lawn. Also all the deer poop to clean up. If I wanted deer all over my lawn I'd live in the country.

-- Posted by chinook on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 4:06 PM

good question dhinkle57...I was wondering the same thing....because Mr. Stigers obviously is feeding the deer...they don't gather at the same time during the day just to stand and look at each other in his yard.

-- Posted by Agnes on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 4:09 PM

So you would give Personal Info to City Hall to have a list of Bow Hunters Do you Trust City Hall with your Personal info they would copy info be saved on a list of all Bow Hunters why the city wants a list of bow hunters they did not say

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 5:19 PM

Big shout out and thank you to Scott Howes for keeping the deer, children and other animals safe in the area! He is one of many that should be proud they have chosen to Keep The Cape Safe.


-- Posted by Just Lelania on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 6:35 PM

ok. Let's move on. Next?

-- Posted by Beaker on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 7:32 PM

Just Lelania, I'm sure you will be saying the same thing when someone is injured or worse in a Car vs. Deer crash on North Sprigg Street. There needs to be a solution for the high numbers of deer in the city limits. If not hunting then we certainly need to be working on a new plan.

By the way the group you are referring to is called "Keep Cape Safe", not "Keep The Cape Safe". Contrary to what you heard in St. Louis, where you must be from, nobody in Southeast Missouri calls Cape Girardeau "The Cape".

-- Posted by Pops90 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:41 PM

cape needs to remember this when they are paying someone else to take care of the deer problem, instead of the bow hunters

-- Posted by le888 on Wed, Apr 3, 2013, at 8:56 PM

Deer ticks! Deer ticks! Deer ticks! Deer ticks! Enjoy!

-- Posted by haemofelis on Fri, Apr 5, 2013, at 8:39 PM

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Precinct vote totals: Cape Girardeau deer hunting repeal

Should an ordinance establishing an urban deer hunting program in Cape Girardeau be repealed?

1 & 4150104
6 & 14182137
8 & 95543
12 & 188767
13 & 15260180

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