Des Peres city officials say deer hunting is helping with the growing deer population

DES PERES, Mon. – Friday was the second day of deer management at Sugar Creek Park in Des Peres. City officials said the stretch of road in front of the park saw more deer collisions than anywhere else in the city.

“Each area can only support so many deer for ecological reasons,” said Douglas Harms, Des Peres city manager. “Our herd is larger than the Conservation Commission considers appropriate for the size of the land.”

He said the deer population in the area continues to grow, raising safety concerns.

“Everyone who’s done that, whether it’s Town and Country or Sunset Hills, goes through the list; it’s always controversial,” Harms said. “There are people in the community who believe you shouldn’t do anything and people who firmly believe we must do something.”

He said deer have taken over 20 acres of Sugar Creek Park and the Conservation Commission has approved the removal of 50 deer.

“They’re all trained professional snipers. That’s what they do. They travel all over the country, both in the United States and Canada, doing exactly what they’re doing here,” Harms said.

He said the commission is strict about what the city must do with the deer if they are removed. Thirty of them go to Share the Harvest Food Pantry, a non-profit organization that feeds more than 800 families every month.

“The Department of Conservation is monitoring this to make sure it’s done that way,” Harms said. “They have a biologist inspecting the deer. They keep records, they make sure it goes where it’s supposed to go and we pay the cost of processing it.”

The other 20 deer go to the St. Louis Zoo.

“We were asked by the zoo if they could have a number of animals from their endangered wolf program,” Harms said. “The Department of Conservation has approved up to 20 deer for this program.”

Sugar Creek Park will remain closed through February 1st. Des Peres city officials say deer hunting is helping with the growing deer population

Sarah Y. Kim

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