MDC to supervise managed archery deer hunts set for five Kansas City parks

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will supervise managed archery hunts for white-tailed deer in five Kansas City parks this autumn.

MDC coordinates these managed hunts with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department to provide bowhunters additional hunting opportunities and to help reduce over-populated deer herds in the urban parks.

This is the second year for a managed hunt in Swope Park. Managed hunts have been held in prior years at Tiffany Springs Park, Hodge Park, Jerry Smith Park and Riverfront Park near the Missouri River with extensive woodlands in the Chouteau Bridge and I-435 area.  

The goal is to protect park wildlife habitat and reduce the numbers of deer-vehicle accidents near the parks, said Joe DeBold, an MDC urban wildlife biologist.

Excessive deer numbers can increase damage caused by deer browsing on native plants and trees in parks. Too many deer can also lead to damage at golf courses and gardens.

Hunting zones in the five parks are in undeveloped areas and away from heavily-used improvements such as trails and buildings. The zone boundaries will be marked with signs. However all land within those parks will remain open for general public use and the managed archery hunt zones are safe for all visitors.

The archers participating in the hunts were chosen earlier in a random drawing. A limited number of hunters are designated for each park. There are no additional slots open for hunters and the general public cannot randomly enter the parks to hunt.

To be eligible, all hunters must complete a bowhunting safety course and attend an orientation meeting. Participants must hunt from raised positions such as platforms temporarily attached to trees. The hunters shoot arrows toward the ground at close-range targets.

Dates for the hunts vary. They include: Jerry Smith Park, Oct. 29-Nov. 30; Riverfront Park, Nov. 1-Jan. 15; Tiffany Springs Park, Nov. 7-Nov. 30; Hodge Park, Nov. 7-Nov. 30, and Swope Park, Nov. 7-Dec. 31.

This is the sixth year for managed archery deer hunts in some Kansas City parks. There have been no accidents or problems reported from those hunts, DeBold said.