Both the cities of Osage Beach and Camdenton have seen decreases in deer populations following successful managed deer hunts.
In an effort to decrease deer-related vehicle accidents and nuisance problems, a handful of Lake of the Ozarks area municipalities have held managed deer hunts during archery season Sept. 15 through Jan. 15. The deer hunters must apply for permits to participate in the managed deer hunt, adhere to hunting regulations set forth by the Missouri Department of Conservation and those outlined in the managed deer hunt, and hunt on specified property volunteered by landowners within city limits.
The City of Osage Beach completed its fifth managed deer hunt on Wednesday as one of the first in the Lake Area to allow such an event within in city limits. Osage Beach Animal Compliance Officer Bob Chatham said this season's managed deer hunt saw 68 deer harvested, which was a bit down from the 2012-13 managed deer hunt.
"We were not the only ones that were down," he said. "Hunters this year weren't seeing the deer at the beginning of the season. The deer weren't moving this year because there was a lot more acorns and food out there for them, preventing them from traveling as much."
However, Chatham said the number of deer-related vehicle accidents in Osage Beach has decreased since the managed deer hunts inception in 2009, as well. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) records the numbers of dead deer it picks up along Lake roads, as does the city. Chatham said during the 2013-14 managed deer hunt, 53 deer were collected, which is up a little from the 2012-13 hunt at 48. However, there were 58 of those dead deer recorded in 2009-10.
"Our main objective for the managed deer hunt was to cut the number of deer-related car accidents within city limits. We had a lot of deer and wanted to reduce the population," he said, noting 57 hunting permits were issued for the most recent managed deer hunt in Osage Beach. He also said there has been a decrease in property owners allowing use of more than 1,000 acres of land total to 39. "Our five-year total between all the managed deer hunts is 428 deer harvested. Some years it is up and others it goes down. However, overall we have done a really good job in reducing the deer in city limits."
Only held for three years, Camdenton's managed deer hunt saw seven deer harvested for its 2013-14 event, according to Camdenton City Clerk Renee Kingston. She said this is less than the 13 harvested in 2012 but more than the first hunt that resulted in six deer harvested.
She said the first year, 21 hunters participated, with 17 during the 2012-13 event and 15 for the most recent hunt. In addition, the number of property owners offering a minimum of three acres of land to use for the inner-city bow and arrow managed deer hunt has remained steady. She said 17 properties were used the first year, 18 the second and 16 most recently.
Kingston said the City of Camdenton was prompted to move forward with a managed deer hunt following numerous complaints by residents of deer destroying their yards, flowers and gardens aside from deer-related vehicle accidents.
"Since we started the managed deer hunts in the city, we haven't had any complaints from citizens. Hopefully it is helping control the deer population in Camdenton," she said.
Other municipalities and recreational areas at Lake of the Ozarks also held managed deer hunts during deer archery season including the City of Lake Ozark and Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton.