Controlled-hunts organized by the Department of Conservation may help reduce Ellisville’s deer population, although a state wildlife expert said this week that their proposal is not a complete solution.
Neither Ellisville nor Ballwin allow harvesting of deer to control populations.
Renewed talks about managed hunts in Ellisville came just more than a week after Ballwin resident Linda Gebhardt was hospitalized and listed in critical condition after a deer rammed her in an Ellisville parking lot. She fell to the pavement, hit her head, and was knocked unconscious.
Representatives of Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur, where Gebhardt was treated, said she no longer was listed in the patient directory. She is recovering.
Ellisville's city government is re-considering allowing state-controlled hunts at Klamberg Woods—a state-owned park leased and maintained by the city parks department. They would need to decide by Feb. 1, for this year.
In order to have a greater impact on the city’s deer population, an urban wildlife biologist Erin Shank, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said a city like Ellisville would need to also allow hunting on private property—something permitted in various capacities by municipalities such as Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley, Wildwood, Creve Coeur and Town & Country.
“I mean really, Ellisville and Ballwin are the only ones left, just about, as far as municipalities in St. Louis County that are not allowing some kind of harvesting of deer on private property,” Shank said. “It has become the exception to do nothing.”
“This is not going to solve Ellisville’s deer problem,” Shank said. “It’s a good first-step, but the real limit here is that it still is only 6 or 7 acres in a 4 mile area.”
The proposed hunts would use bows—not rifles—and would be managed by the Department of Conservation.
Shank said hunts managed by the state would utilize about five hunters, who would be drawn from a state lottery and would undergo a pre-hunt orientation. The orientation would include walking the hunt’s grounds, reviewing boundaries and identifying no-shooting zones near private property.
All hunters also would be required to shoot from tree stands, Shank said, which force a downward trajectory, thus decreasing the risk of accidents. The hunts likely would take place over two to three days beginning sometime in November.
The Ellisville City Council is expected to vote on whether to allow the use of archery and crossbows at Klamberg Woods at the city’s Feb. 1 council meeting.