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24
Suburban community wrestles with deer hunting in subdivision

Associated Press


ST. LOUIS - A suburban community in west St. Louis County is split on whether to permit the killing of deer in its residential subdivision.

The decision could come as early as Tuesday night, when the Board of Aldermen for the city of Clarkson Valley will decide whether to pass an ordinance giving hunters the go-ahead.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says the community has too many deer for safety, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Both opponents and those who favor the hunt say safety is their primary concern.

Some say a hunt is necessary before a motorist dies from colliding with a deer.

The group opposed to hunting the deer says that letting hunters loose in the city, with either bows and arrows or rifles, puts children in danger.

By most accounts, the residents of the heavily wooded Kehrs Mill Trails are evenly divided on the issue. Proponents and protesters are expected to attend what is expected to be a lively meeting Tuesday.

A team representing Clarkson Valley and the Missouri Department of Conservation has been assessing the problem. The department surveyed the city by helicopter over the winter and found Clarkson Valley had 89 deer per square mile. The state says the desired number of deer per square mile in similarly populous areas is 20.

In February, the Board of Aldermen allowed a limited hunt in specific sections of the subdivision, first with guns, later with bows and arrows.

Residents began taking sides, and the deer issue has been on hold ever since.

For those who favor the hunt, the problem is twofold. Suzy Adams said deer cause $1,500 to $2,000 worth of damage to her property each year.

But Doug Adams said the deer pose an even bigger concern for drivers. "It's an outrageous safety issue," said Adams, who has installed an electronic deer whistle on his Harley-Davidson to protect himself.

Tom Young, of Residents Against Using Weapons in Kehrs Mill Trails Subdivision, agrees with Adams, to an extent.

"Safety is the issue here, as far as I'm concerned," he said.

Young said that while he acknowledged the deer problem in his neighborhood, "If you're out walking your dog or your kids are playing in your yard, you wouldn't want a rifleman 50 yards away."

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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