Deer Management Committee
The City of Wildwood Board of Public Safety formed a Deer Management Committee in 2019 to research and develop recommendations to manage the overpopulation of deer in Wildwood. The committee was formed in response to resident complaints regarding deer overpopulation, which was confirmed by a 2018 deer population study. That study, which was completed within a 5.5 square mile area of the City of Wildwood, determined the deer population density to be about 80 deer per square mile, which is well above the historic deer density of 5-20 deer per square mile. In addition, in 2018, the Wildwood Precinct Police reported that there were 231 deer / motor vehicle strikes within City limits. These strikes pose a direct threat to the safety and welfare of motorists traveling throughout the City of Wildwood. The Deer Management Committee is supported by the Wildwood Precinct Police, who provide annual data on deer/motor vehicle strikes, and the Missouri Department of Conservation, whose wildlife biologists provide expertise to the City regarding deer management.
Roles & Responsibilities:
The Deer Management Committee’s goal is to help gather and utilize hard data and public opinion to create a management strategy that will increase the safety and reduce property damage for those residents living with deer in Wildwood as follows:
- Promote safety on the roadways by decreasing the number of deer/motor vehicle strikes in Wildwood.
- Provide an informed perspective to the Board of Public Safety and City Council regarding the management of deer, supported by data from the Wildwood Precinct Police and guided by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
- Educate residents on all aspects of living with deer.
- Facilitate public feedback regarding deer management practices and foster partnerships to develop and implement a preferred management strategy. .
- Create and recommend a deer management plan to the City Council that is suitable and acceptable to residents.
Deer Management Survey
The City of Wildwood conducted a questionnaire for three main purposes: to gauge public opinion about deer and urban deer management techniques, to gain and understanding of resident interface with the overpopulation of deer, and to provide education on current issues regarding deer in Wildwood. The survey was posted online and opened for one and a half months, closing on January 31, 2020. There were 958 respondents. See the survey results at the link below.
Draft Deer Management Plan
The Board of Public Safety has prepared a Draft Deer Management Plan, based on resident feedback from the previously completed Deer Management Survey.
The Plan proposes goals and objectives to reduce the deer population within Wildwood to a density of less than 40 deer per square mile. A goal of 40 deer/square mile would reduce complaints and deer/vehicle incidents but would still retain enough deer population for hunters and deer lovers. A goal lower than 40 deer / square mile would probably not be obtainable without significant culling. The Plan prepared by the Board of Public Safety would achieve the population reduction over many years (likely ten years), primarily by promoting and increasing legal deer hunting within the City. That effort might include working with Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to plan or promote additional managed hunts on large tracts of land, however, the Plan did not propose that the City fund a bait and cull program at this time.
The Draft Plan was prepared and submitted to the Administration/Public Works for review and approval.
2020 Deer Population Survey
The Wildwood Precinct completed an extensive deer counting effort over the winter of 2020-21. The results of that effort indicate an average deer density of 71.5 deer per square mile, which was measured over six (6) regions or more than 30 square miles of the City. Based on the limited amount of data, the 95% confidence band for deer population density ranges from 58.4 to 87.4 deer per square mile. This deer density is well above historic levels of 15-20 deer per square mile (prior to European settlement).. See the full survey results at the link below.