Hunters and other Missouri residents with an interest in white-tailed deer can express their opinions on management of the state’s deer herd at regional meetings in June and July.
The Missouri Department of Conservation will hold open houses at 14 locations around the state to discuss white-tailed deer management with citizens. In southwest Missouri, meetings will be held June 16 at the Rolla Junior High School cafeteria and the Christopher Bond Learning Center on the Missouri State University campus in Springfield.
The meetings will not have formal presentations. Instead, they will use an open-house format where people can come and go any time between 3 and 8 p.m. They will be able to visit booths focusing on the history of deer management in Missouri, the state’s new deer management plan, possible regulation changes, hunter retention and recruitment, public comments received so far, and other issues related to deer management.
The open-house format lets attendees concentrate on their particular interests, asking questions and discussing their ideas one-on-one with biologists and other key staff. Deputy Director Tom Draper says the goal of the open houses is to provide information and get feedback.
“We need people to tell us what they want Missouri’s deer population to look like and what combination of hunting seasons, bag limits, and hunting methods they want the conservation department to use to achieve their goals,” says Draper. “We will use what we hear this summer to help shape future deer regulation changes.”
Drape noted that Missouri’s free-ranging white-tailed deer population supports 12,000 jobs and generates more than $1 billion in economic activity annually in the Show-Me State.