St. Louis, Mo — The Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center and grounds will be closed from Saturday, Nov. 5, through Monday, Nov. 7, to accommodate a managed archery deer hunt on the area. During this time the nature center building and grounds, including the surrounding trails, will not be accessible to the general public. Powder Valley will resume normal operational hours again starting Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The goal of the three-day managed hunt is to help balance deer populations that have grown beyond what Powder Valley’s 112-acre habitat can provide for, according to MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank. Using data from spotlight survey counts conducted in the fall of 2010, Shank estimates the deer population is approximately five times what can comfortably exist there, given the area’s size and proximity to residences and roadways.
Based on roadside carcass retrievals over the past seven years, Shank also estimated an average of five to ten deer-vehicle strikes per year in the vicinity of the nature center.
While visitors enjoy seeing deer and the animals are an important part of the area’s wildlife population, excessive numbers cause negative impacts to other plants and animals, which also draw visitors and are equally important to the area’s biological diversity.
For example, Shank noted that over browsing of wildflowers and other vegetation by deer reduces song bird numbers and insects such as butterflies and other pollinators that depend on these plants. Shank said the Department’s goal is to “manage the area for a balance of native plants and animals, and not only deer.” Shank sees hunting is the most cost-effective management tool to help reduce deer numbers, while providing a recreational opportunity for hunters.
The hunters participating in the Powder Valley managed hunt applied for the opportunity between July 1 and Aug. 15 and were drawn at random. Permitted harvest methods are by bow and arrow or crossbow. Hunters must harvest a doe before they will be allowed to pursue bucks because female deer numbers have a direct impact on population growth. They must also attend a pre-hunt orientation. Because managed hunts are a tool intended to fulfill specific management goals, deer harvested during a managed hunt do not count toward a hunter’s regular season bag limit.
A second managed archery deer hunt is planned on the Powder Valley grounds for Jan. 7-9, 2012. A total of 30 managed deer hunts and three managed youth deer hunts are being held in the St. Louis region during the 2011-2012 season. More details, along with a complete list of managed hunts, can be found on the MDC website at http://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/deer/2011-2012-managed-hunts.
Powder Valley Conservation Nature center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood, near the intersection of Highways I-44 and I-270.