JEFFERSON CITY - Three state parks throughout Missouri closed Saturday and Sunday to allow for special deer hunts. State conservation officials said the hunts are needed to alleviate the whitetail deer overpopulation that is damaging state resources.
The annual special hunts took place at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park in Wildwood, Cuivre River State Park near Troy and Watkins Woolen Mill State Park northeast of Kansas City.
According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, by law, state parks are established as wildlife refuges and hunting is not permitted except under special circumstances. However, the state is using these special hunts as a resource management tool because the parks' environments cannot handle the large deer population.
The hunts were conducted following Missouri Department of Conservation guidelines. Participating hunters submitted special applications this summer and were selected through a random computer drawing. The parks were closed to the public except for those hunters with the special permit.
Bill Bryan is the Missouri State Parks director and he said these hunts provide benefits for hunters and state parks. Bryan said this event gives hunters a unique opportunity to help the state manage the deer population and a chance to give back to the community through the Share the Harvest program.