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Deer Management


  • Deer population estimating was completed on January 17, 18 & 20th by White Buffalo Inc. using high power spotlights while driving at 10MPH along 16 miles of roads representing four routes.  When deer were observed, the number in each group was recorded along with age and sex of the deer.
  • Deer were observed on 9 miles of the 16.0 mile transect with all deer sighting located west of I-270.


  • No deer were observed east of I-270.
  • The deer density EAST of I-270 can be assumed to be low density at less than 10 deer per square mile.
  • Residents in this area will experience some deer conflicts – mainly vegetation damage. This is consistent with police data which finds no deer/vehicle conflicts East of I-270 during the past 4 years.


  • 10-12 groups of deer were sited west of I-270 with deer evenly distributed generally in the areas of Highland & Shari; in the Dougherty Woods & Dougherty Ridge subdivisions; in Four Winds Farm and along Topping Lane.  This was not unexpected given the large tracts of natural areas (Phantom Forest and Bittersweet Woods) and large tracts of wooded common ground in those area’s.
  • Population estimates WEST OF I-270 at 39.9 deer per square mile and a total deer count within a range of 58-131 deer. White Buffalo reports that these are pre-fawning estimates and we can expect to see an increase in population in May and June.
  • Herd Demographics: Estimated at 53% fawns, 32% yearling and adult females and 15% yearling and adult males.  The data suggest a high birth rate of 1.6 fawns per adult doe.


  • Wildlife biologists generally recommend a deer population in an urban area not greater than 20 deer per square mile. The West St Louis County Deer Task Force sponsored by the MO Department of Conservation has recommended a 15-20 deer square mile target for West ST Louis County.
  • Town & Country estimated their deer population at 60-85 deer per square mile (again primarily west of I-270) when they instituted their Deer Management Program. The Town & Country Deer Management Task Force has set a goal of 30 deer per square mile
  • We do not have current estimates of deer populations in other area cities.


Typical elements of a municipal deer management program might include some or all of the following components:

1.      Legislation to prohibit feeding of deer by area residents.

2.      Change in local ordinances to allow deer hunting (usually limited to archery season) on large tracts of land in the city. Hunting typically requires 2+ acres; written permission of the property owner(s); high liability insurance limits -$2.0 million; notice to the local police department. If we want to allow archery hunting within Phantom Forest and Bittersweet Wood we would need Conservation Commissions approval with an application deadline of January 15th for a fall hunt. They estimate they would allow up to 4 bow hunters and a maximum take of 12-16 deer.

3.      Herd reduction using sharpshooters from a private firm like White Buffalo Inc. The estimated cost would be roughly $17,000 for hunting and meat processing for 20 deer ($850 per deer). The Conservation Commission requires that all meat from these hunts be donated to charity such as Share the Harvest.  Conservation does not allow sharpshooters in their conservation areas.

4.      Deer Capture and Sterilization estimated at $26,000 for 20 deer sterilized.


1.     Public Safety to continue to monitor and report annually on the number of deer incidents involving both deer/car collisions  and number of injured dead deer along roadways.

2.      Continue to monitor annually the deer population using White Buffalo or a similar outside vendor to do annual deer estimates in January of 2017 and beyond.

Consideration of changes in ordinances to allow archery deer hunting on limited sites based on tract size, location with insurance requirements and notification and inspection by to local police.

Des Peres Distance Sampling Report by White Buffalo Inc.