Dardenne Prairie residents may be able to draw a bead with a bow and arrow on a trophy buck in their backyards thanks to a new ordinance that allows a limited amount of bow hunting for deer inside the city limits.
The city’s Board of Aldermen voted 5-1 at its Dec. 6 meeting to approve an ordinance allowing regulated bow hunting in the city. The city has not and will not allow unregulated deer hunting because it “is dangerous to residents,” according to the new ordinance. Alderman Dan Koch [Ward 3] voted against the ordinance. Aldermen agreed to table the ordinance at their Nov. 15 meeting to allow Koch to research and get feedback from residents in his ward.
Bow hunting came before the board recently when two residents along Brook Line Drive complained about the large white-tail deer population and brought in photographs of deer that have devastated their gardens. The residents said they were avid bow hunters 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 resulting ordinance would allow property owners, or their invitees, to hunt deer or engage in bow and arrow target shooting as long as the property consists of at least 1.5 acres of contiguous land and is used for residential or agricultural purposes.
Hunters 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, streets, sidewalks, roads, highways or playgrounds. Arrows also cannot land on city, state or federal property or on private property without the owner’s consent.
Arrows cannot be shot from a moving motor vehicle or all-terrain vehicle and people cannot hunt under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Anyone who kills 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 property hunted, to get permission to retrieve a dead or injured deer. If permission is not given, the hunter should immediately notify the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Under the ordinance, it is illegal to field dress a deer killed in a public or conspicuous location.
A bow is defined in the ordinance as a device drawn and held by hand and not fastened to a stock or to another mechanism that maintains the device in a drawn position, such as a crossbow. Permissible bows include long-bows, recurve and compound bows.
Mayor David Zucker said no amendments were made to the bill. “The area that has the deer population is close to the [Gateway] greenway and the [August] Busch Wildlife area,” Zucker said. He also doesn’t expect a large amount of hunting. “It takes some skill to stalk a deer and take it down with a bow.”