Archive for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Park board approves sharpshooter plan to cull SM Park deer herd

Two deer frolic in an open field in Shawnee Mission Park. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks estimates there are about 200 deer per square mile in the park, or about 400 deer. That’s the largest concentration of deer in the state.

Two deer frolic in an open field in Shawnee Mission Park. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks estimates there are about 200 deer per square mile in the park, or about 400 deer. That’s the largest concentration of deer in the state.

June 17, 2009

Sharpshooters will be used this fall to cull the deer herd in Shawnee Mission Park.

This was the unanimous decision Wednesday of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District board of commissioners, which approved district staff’s recommendation to train park police and possibly municipal police officers to conduct a sharp-shooting hunt in the fall. The decision came after 28 members of the public made statements before the board, both in favor and against the staff-recommended plan.

Michael Meadors, director of the district, said there was about $50,000 available to cover any costs incurred for the hunt, which would include training the officers and setting up deer stands. Sharpshooters would hunt the deer one or two days a week over four to six weeks, only in the early mornings and only in restricted areas of the park. The staff-recommended plan is available at jcprd.com

The goal would be to reduce the deer population to 50 per square mile in the two-square-mile park, still above the 30 state officials have said is the usual population per square mile in rural areas. State surveys in 2007 and 2008 estimated the current population in the park at 200 deer per square mile.

After the hunt, a population survey would be performed, and it the population is still too high, the park would allow certified bowhunters to hunt in restricted areas in late December or early January of 2010.

Of members of the public who spoke, eight were against any type of hunt taking place. Others said they were against the bowhunting, either citing public safety concerns or saying they thought the method was inhumane. Some fully supported the plan but thought the district could find resident hunters who would perform the hunt for free, rather than the county having to pay officers for their time.

Watch for more information about the board's decision at shawneedispatch.com.

Comments

Dillon1 9 years, 5 months ago

I admit it I love nature. I moved to Shawnee from Leawood because of the open space, rolling hills, wildlife, deer and wild turkey to name a few. I am fortunate to drive by Shawnee Mission Park on my way to work and home again. Now, I find myself approaching the drive by the park and thinking " run deer North, South, East or West, escape the soon to be killing field, inhabited by recently "trained" sharpshooters. I ask myself how can officers except an extraordinary few become a masterful "sharpshooter in a couple of months?" Next my mind jumps to the aftermath, is the park going to be full of inhumanly wounded deer? What happened to "we are all God's creatures?" Whose responsible for this predicament in the first place? Where was the Park and Recreation district "staff" when the deer were muliplying out of control? Where was the "non lethal" means of control then? The "staff" now recommends "non lethal" methods of control after the "harvest"...... and for the "harvest" can any orgainzation accept the donations without USDA approval? Oh well. I now selfishly hope I can put it out of my mind on my daily drive by the park. I also hope I can't hear the supposedly "sharp shots" from my deck with the beautiful view of the park . I find myself apologizing to "mother nature" for this planned atrocity against her in the late-fall. Maybe the "staff" should ask for her forgiveness too.

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DisneyGrl 9 years, 5 months ago

I cannot imagine how our own parks department has come to the conclusion that killing 500 deer in our park is acceptable. I have been watching this story for weeks and have been amazed at the thrill the hunters are getting out of the prospect of maybe getting to kill baited animals. "They will even do it for FREE." The world is full of people that get a charge out of the sickest things and this is a perfect example. This is not a "harvest" it is a slaughter! My visits to Shawnee Mission Park have ended. It will never be thought of in the same way for myself or my family. Johnson County Park and Rec should be ashamed!

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Resident 9 years, 5 months ago

Regardless of how we got here, this IS a problem and needs to be addressed. Concurrently, we can study/learn how NOT to get here again... but that doesn't change the fact that there are too many deer in the park; and that they are suffering -- there isn't enough 'good' food. Anyone that observes the deer can easily see that they are starving and resorting to a less than nutritious food supply (I have pictures of deer with visible rib-cages, similar to starving children in third world countries, they are very sad images). Without proper nutrition, their immune systems will be weakend and eventurally threaten ALL the deer in the park.

I would much rather the deer population be reduced by sharpshooters and/or bow hunters, than by famine, disease and/or car accidents -- that could eventually kill someones child. However, I'd much rather see the city break even by selling the permits to experienced/qualified hunters. I'm looking forward to a day when the deer in the park can enjoy a much more peaceful life with an ample supply of food.

This was a tough decision, but I think its the right one and I'm happy the board had the courage to do so. Its always easy to complain about anything -- especially a lose/lose situation -- if they harvest the deer, or wait for the deer to all die of disease, either way they will be criticized (probably by the same group of people). Sometimes in life we find ourselves in tough situations, I actually applaud their courage for dealing with this one in spite of the afore mentioned criticism they will recieve.

To Dillon: Are you kidding? Jimney Crickets -- I would HOPE that officers can be trained to be "sharpshooters" in a minimal amount of time.. for gosh sakes, they are already carrying guns!!!!

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Tellingthetruth 9 years, 5 months ago

In regards to "Resident" above. I am an individual that spends a great deal of time in Shawnee Mission Park on a daily basis and have for years. I have yet to understand why individuals are trying to illicit scare tactics to the public in order to make people believe this "harvest" is the only solution. First of all, the deer that I encounter - again on an almost DAILY basis are not suffering, diseased or malnourished as you stated. I have yet to see one that has its "rib cages" showing due to starvation. Take a look at the picture above this article and you will see the deer that I see DAILY. Do they look like children from third world countries? Would our solution in third world countries be to bait children and then put bullets in their heads so they don't look sad anymore? Regarding the Lyme Disease issue. Yes, deer have ticks, but so does my own yard where I have very few trees and NO DEER. There are other solutions to this problem. Why people would find any pleasure in shooting such an easy target is nuts! I can assure you that Shawnee Mission Park does not have a perimeter fence and if the food runs out the deer will migrate to where food is available.

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