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Dardenne Prairie considers allowing bowhunting for deer, target shooting to help deal with growing deer population

Getting that trophy buck for some Dardenne Prairie residents may become as easy as drawing a bead with bow and arrow in the backyard.

That’s not the case right now.  But the city’s Board of Aldermen is considering adding a new ordinance that includes a section allowing regulated bowhunting in the city.

The city now doesn’t allow unregulated deer hunting with firearms because it “is dangerous to residents” according to the new ordinance.

Aldermen agreed to table the ordinance at their Nov. 15 meeting to allow Alderman Dan Koch [Ward 3] time to research and get feedback from his ward residents.  Koch apologized to the board, asking that the ordinance be tabled, saying he may not have attended a meeting when it was first discussed.

Koch wanted to check with more residents to see what support bowhunting has in his ward.  He said residents participating might have to consider carrying additional home insurance coverage.  The board’s next scheduled workshop and board meeting is at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at City Hall, 2032 Hanley Road.

The issue came before the board recently when two residents complained to aldermen about the large white-tail deer population.  The showed city officials bringing photographs the devastation of their gardens from foraging deer.

The two residents said they were avid bowhunters and asked if they could hunt deer on their property during the state’s archery deer season. Hunting may be one way of reducing the large number of deer in parts of the city, they said. The new ordinance section on bowhunting also covers target shooting.

The proposed ordinance would allow property owners or their invitees can hunt deer or engage in target shooting on property they own as long as it consists has at least 1.5-acres of contiguous land and is used for residential or agricultural purposes.

Provisions of the new ordinance state that hunters would also have to carry a valid Missouri hunting permit and deer tags at all times. It will be unlawful for anyone to shoot an arrow across any publicly owned land, street, sidewalk, road, highway or playground.  Arrows also cannot land on city, state or federal property or on private property with the owner’s consent.

Arrows also can’t be shot from a moving motor vehicle or all-terrain vehicle and people cannot hunt under the influence of alcohol or drugs,, the proposed ordinance states.

Anyone who kill or injures a deer during hunting has to make “a reasonable search to retrieve the deer.” Hunters have to immediately notify any property owner, other than the owners of the property hunted, to get permission to retrieve a dead or injured deer.  If the permission isn’t given, the hunter should immediately notify the Missouri Department of Conservation.

It will also be illegal to field dress a deer killed in a public or conspicuous manner.

A bow is defined in the ordinance as a device drawn and held by hand and not fastened to a stock or to other mechanism than maintains the device in a drawn position such as a crossbow. Bows include long-bows, recurve and compound bows.

Bowhunting for deer is allowed in municipalities particularly in St. Louis County, Chesterfield, Wildwood, Ballwin are among those cities.   O’Fallon, which borders Dardenne Prairie, does not allow bowhunting for deer, according to Tom Drabelle, the city’s communications director.

Dardenne Prairie, located along Interstate 64, just north of the August A. Busch Wildlife Area, has an abundance of wild animals.  The city hired a trapper to remove beavers who were building dams that backed up Dardenne Creek in the city.

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