Ellisville bans feeding deer, continues discussion on hunting
By: Diane E. Samson
The Ellisville City Council voted 5-2 on Feb. 20 to ban the feeding of white-tailed deer, Canada geese, ducks and other migratory fowl within the city limits, on public or private land.
The ordinance does not apply to the feeding of domestic animals.
Violators can be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or confinement not to exceed 90 days, or both. Each act in which a person violates the ordinance would be considered a separate offense.
City Manager Kevin Bookout explained that police officers can exercise discretion in the fines to give warnings as citizens become aware of the ordinance.
The Council also discussed an ordinance to allow bow hunting of deer within the city limits during deer hunting season or any other time as specified by the city.
The deer hunting policy would be similar to the policy the city of Ballwin passed in October to help control the deer population. Ballwin passed its hunting ordinance after a Ballwin woman was struck by a deer while walking in an Ellisville parking lot.
“Other municipalities around us have taken these kinds of steps,” said Councilmember Michelle Murray (District 3). “Our deer population is two to three times the amount that is recommended for an area of this size. We are trying to mitigate this issue in the interest of public safety.”
The ordinance would allow bow hunting only (no cross-bows) on 1-acre properties. Property owners could combine their properties to accommodate the 1-acre requirement.
Here are some highlights of the ordinance:
• Prior to hunting, the property owner must notify the Ellisville police department.
• Prior to hunting, the property owner/hunter must have a $2 million liability insurance policy.
• Hunt would conform to all laws of the state of Missouri and regulations as defined by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
• Hunters must obtain written permission to hunt on the property of another.
• Neighbors must be notified in writing by the property owner of the approximate date and time period of the hunt.
• Prior to hunting, the hunter must permanently mark each arrow with his or her Missouri Department of Conservation identification number.
• Every individual seeking to hunt must complete an archery hunter safety course.
• Hunters would shoot from an elevated position of at least 10 feet and must face the interior of the property.
• It would be unlawful to shoot across any street, sidewalk, road or playground; in the direction of any person, vehicle or building, or within 150 yards of any church, school or playground.
Ellisville resident Dan Duffy said he appreciates the city wanting to remove deer for safety issues, but he lives in an area in which children walk through backyards, not always on sidewalks, to Ellisville Elementary and Crestview Middle School. He suggested that property owners may not always know when a child will cut through their yard. He asked that the legislation be changed to a minimum of 3 acres to prevent small lots from being joined together in this area.
“Before you let people like me take pot shots at deer standing by swing sets and picnic tables, I’d like you to think about the consequences of just one possible accident,” Duffy said.
Bow hunter Lou Salamone, a resident of Ballwin and member of Suburban Bowhunters, explained to the Council that ordinances such as this have worked very well in other West County municipalities. Ballwin, for instance, has similar lot sizes as Ellisville. Salamone said they wouldn’t be hunting where children are walking and that members of his group are experts and only take shots that will drop the deer immediately.
Mayor Adam Paul expressed concerns, however, of non-experts being able to hunt if they get the liability insurance and a safety course. He said he has had experience hunting deer in which they are hit and run off and worries they could travel to another person’s property to die.
Paul objected to a second reading of the bill, therefore, the issue will be revisited at the Council meeting on March 6.