Ellisville City Council members talked about several proposals dealing with the city's deer population at its , with outcomes ranging from permitting hunting within the city to possibly providing salt licks for the animals to enjoy.
“We have found in the past that there is about half the population who want to feed the deer, and the other half of the population want to eat them,” Mayor Matt Pirrello told residents.
Pirrello said traffic safety was a primary concern related to the deer population, with deer crossing Manchester and Clarkson roads accounting for a significant number of vehicle accidents.
Following the results of a formal study presented to council members in Town and Country earlier this summer, council members there may soon vote on a “” that would take effect in 2012.
Pirrello said Chesterfield, Wildwood and Clarkson Valley already have permitted deer hunting within city limits.
“But they don’t have the density levels we do,” he said.
Council member Linda Reel said she wasn't opposed to permitting deer hunting. She did, however, suggest the council investigate birth control drugs that have been used to curb deer populations.
Pirrello said any proposals dealing with bow hunting or other "projectile" methods would raise legal issues. In addition to regulations under the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, the city likely would encounter complications dealing with zoning if hunting was allowed.
“But if we pursue anything…we have a big liability issue on our hands and probably need to figure out a way to identify if that’s being done on private property,” Pirrello said.
Council member Troy Pieper said that previously, constituents seemed divided about the possibility of lethal force to control the deer population. However, recently that's changed, Pieper said, with more residents supporting efforts to decrease the number of deer.
“Of the people I’ve talked to that have called me or expressed concern, it's probably close to 60 percent, 70 percent, and it’s getting worse,” he said.
Pirrello said city staff would collect data from local cities with comparable densities that have participated in deer population control and report back to the Ellisville board. Pirrello said the city also should make efforts to invite a representative of the Natural Resources Conservation Service to address deer population issues with the council.