Swope Park added to KC urban deer hunt sites

News from the region
Kansas City
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KANSAS CITY MO - For the first time, a portion of Swope Park will be included in the managed archery hunts for whitetail deer at Kansas City parks.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will supervise managed hunts in five city parks from Nov. 8 to Nov. 30. Managed hunts are coordinated with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and have been held in previous years at Tiffany Springs Park, Hodge Park, Jerry Smith Park and Riverfront Park.

The hunts are held to reduce deer densities in the parks, said MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Joe DeBold. The goal is to reduce the number of vehicle accidents involving deer hit on roadways and to protect native plants and trees in the parks from over browsing by deer. Problems at Swope Park range from golf-course and woodland damage to deer destroying wildflowers and grasses planted at a prairie-glade restoration project.

Swope Park has an estimated 60 to 70 deer per square mile, DeBold said, more than double the number considered healthy for both the deer herd and the 1,805-acre park’s woodlands. Only a 758-acre area in the park’s southeast quadrant will be open to bow hunting. The hunting zone will be marked with signs and there are buffer zones where no hunting is allowed close to trails, roads and buildings.

However, all of the parks, including land within designated hunting zones, will remain open for general public use.

“That’s what’s unique about these hunts,” DeBold said. “The parks remain open to the public for the entire hunt, therefore benefiting both the park patron and the hunter.”

Hunters are chosen to participate through a random drawing. There were 35 hunters chosen for Swope Park and similar hunter numbers are used at the other parks. Hunters must complete a bowhunter education course to be eligible. Hunters must also attend a hunter-orientation meeting that discusses rules and regulations of the hunt -- and most importantly safety awareness.

This will be the fifth year for managed hunts in some parks. There have been no accidents or problems reported from those hunts, he said.