As deer in the Ozarks are becoming more active, the Missouri Department of Conservation is inviting Springfield citizens to a discussion on the latest strategies to counter the animal’s growing population.
“Oh, Deer! Managing Urban Deer Populations” will be presented at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center on Oct. 22. MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Ashley Schnake says officials will discuss both local strategies, and those from outside the region.
“They will hear about urban deer problems that many municipalities or communities face throughout the country, some more specific to Springfield, and then some of the strategies that Springfield, specifically Springfield is utilizing is to help manage its deer population,” Says Schnake
According to Schnake the local deer population is nearly three times what MDC would like to see in an urban area, and those numbers are growing. This overpopulation causes a number of issues, often for homeowners facing property damage.
“Avoiding property damage is extremely hard just because deer are generalist species so they like to munch on basically anything. And a lot of the landscaping plants we like to utilize in our yards aren’t prone to deer predation, so they have very, very tender leaves that the deer absolutely love, “Schnake says.
And those concerns are not only limited to our landscaping.
“We are kind of getting into the time of year where we see those collisions increase during the rut, in November just as deer activity begins to increase more. Greene County usually ranks pretty high within the Missouri counties for deer-vehicle collisions,” Says Schnake.
How can Missouri motorists avoid those collisions? Keep a special eye out at dawn and dusk, Schnake warns.
“Be more weary if you see deer on the side you might slow down a bit, because they might jut out in front of you,” Schnake says.
As for protecting your plants, Schnake says a new city ordinance may be the solution for some homeowners.
“One thing that we are suggesting, if you’re interested in it, you just have really high deer problems in your area, is utilizing the bow hunting ordinance that Springfield has voted to go into effect last year,” Says Schnake.
Learn more about urban deer management, and hear Ashley Schnake’s full presentation at “Oh Deer! Managing Urban Deer Populations” at 7pm on Oct. 22 at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. Attendance is free, but registration is required by calling 417-888-4237.