Damage Control

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 23, 2010

By targeting and killing the offending coyote, the predation stops and no further animals must be trapped.


Managing Missouri’s white-tailed deer population is one of the Department’s greatest challenges. Although hunters may be largely satisfied with the condition of Missouri’s deer herd, others are not so quick to applaud this abundant resource.

Most folks accept and can tolerate a certain amount of damage caused by deer. Crop farmers, landscapers and gardeners all expect and anticipate some losses due to natural causes, such as wildlife, insects and different types of weather events. However, when losses are excessive, then control methods may be in order.

Wildlife damage biologists often handle deer damage issues whether the complaint involves a lawn and garden or an 80-acre soybean field.

“For lawn plantings and gardens, property owners may try electric fencing, repellents or scare tactics to discourage deer,” says Wendy Sangster, biologist, Kansas City. “These tactics usually keep the damage to an acceptable level or can eliminate it altogether.”

In rural areas where crop damage can be a problem, biologists often initiate a hunting program that targets does.

“Reducing the doe herd is the key to controlling whitetail deer numbers in a given area. Deer seasons and permits are liberal now, especially for landowners,” says Daryl Damron, biologist, Moberly. “Many landowners have significantly reduced their crop damage losses by maintaining an active deer harvest program during the established seasons.”

When crop damage is excessive or deer numbers can’t be controlled through regular hunting seasons, then a special restricted permit may be issued by a conservation agent to reduce deer numbers.


Another species that has found great success in Missouri is the giant Canada goose. Once thought to have been eliminated from the state, this bird is now a very common sight—too common, according to some.

“Canada geese make up the bulk of my calls in the spring and early summer,” says Tom Meister, biologist, St. Louis. “People all over St. Louis complain about the droppings on sidewalks, playgrounds and beach areas. Some nesting pairs of geese can even become aggressive and chase people who get too close to a nest. It’s just unacceptable if you are trying to run a business and the geese are chasing your customers.”

“Geese are attracted to bodies of water that have trimmed, green grass and a gentle slope to the water’s edge,” says Meister. “Most towns and municipalities have inadvertently created the perfect situation for geese when they constructed golf

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