Depending on whom you ask, they might tell you it is enjoyable to take in the sights of a big city from time to time. Some enjoy the hustle and bustle of busy city streets and the plentiful opportunities to people watch. Without a doubt, there are many advantages and conveniences that come along with city life. Even so, the city is something a lot of us prefer to enjoy on our own terms in our own time rather than having the city come knocking on our front doors unannounced, yet that is more or less exactly what is happening not only around the country but right here in Missouri.
Take for instance Kansas City. The current projected growth for Kansas City is that it will reach a population of 6.8 million by the year 2030, which comes down to an increase in people of 1.2 million over a 30 year period. That is a lot of people who need places to live, eat, shop, and play. As populations grow, it is only a matter of time before cities burst at their seams and overflow into the rural areas that surround them. This means that areas which were once wilderness will soon become populated areas as people set up shop and build homes, causing them to clash with wildlife in the process.
Whitetail deer are no exception to the animals that will be impacted by suburban sprawl. The thing about these deer, however, is that they are not going to get the memo that things are changing. Instead, they will do as they always have, living and adapting to the best of their ability until the ways of the wild begin to bump heads with city dwellers, which has created a need for urban hunting. Rather than having plentiful deer populations in urban areas where they get hit by cars and raid family gardens, the solution is to keep deer populations in check by hunting in the city.
Photo: Herald Extra
Urban hunting has become a much needed activity, but nonetheless is it a bit of a tricky concept. For one thing, there is no blanket set of rules that applies across the board in Missouri. Instead, it is necessary to check with local governments to learn what the laws are in your area. These laws will dictate what type of equipment can be used although you will typically find that archery is the only accepted hunting method in most areas. Once you've learned what local government allows, you then have to take into account the actual area in which you wish to hunt as neighborhoods, too, can place rules upon urban hunting which must be followed. Additionally, urban hunting must be done during the appropriate portion of hunting season which is geared towards areas where deer populations need to be reduced.
If you find yourself in an area where the city is reaching out to meet you, urban hunting could be an option. There are some practices that are necessary when doing so, however, in order to maintain the image of hunters in a positive light. This means cleaning up after yourself by burying gut piles and keeping your harvest out of sight by covering it. Additionally, you should always ensure you have proper landowner permission to hunt and do not trespass. More information about urban hunting can be found here.
In the event that your area has a large deer population in need of management, the Missouri Department of Conservation is there to help. Simply make your local officials aware of the situation you see and request a change of ordinance. They can then, in turn, contact the MDC to take the necessary steps to make it happen. Do not forget that as a deer hunter, you are the eyes on the ground and are likely better versed in local deer populations than the average person, so your input is vital to successful deer management. Remember, closed mouths gather no deer meat.
Have you practiced urban hunting in the past? Is it something you enjoy or prefer to avoid? Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments.