WHITE-TAILED DEER are enjoyable to watch, photograph and
hunt, but they can cause crop damage. Missouri farmers
are tolerant of deer activity and accept certain levels
of damage. However, when deer populations, droughts,
natural food shortages or economic conditions create
hardship, corrective action becomes necessary.
programs are among the most effective damage control
techniques, but they require foresight, planning and
commitment by the landowner. The Department of
Conservation establishes an annual any-deer permit quota
for each deer management unit. We look at various
factors in establishing these quotas, and crop damage
problems are a primary consideration. While the
Department provides the legal framework for harvest,
landowners hold the key to regulating local deer herds
because they control hunter access.
control methods such as repellents, scare devices,
out-of-season shooting, and high-tensile electric
fencing can be effective, regulated hunting during the
firearms deer season is a practical, effective solution
to deer damage problems. To be most effective, hunting
must be organized, targeted toward certain animals and
intense enough to affect deer populations.
Deer hunting programs are an important step in
controlling deer damage on the farm. The Department of
Conservation recognizes the importance of landowner
decisions in granting or refusing hunters access, but
also realizes that excessively conservative hunting
programs will aggravate existing damage problems.