Farmington Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway said guidelines are in place to ensure safety for the community and hunters during the special archery hunt recently approved by the Farmington City Council.
There were 399 applications submitted for the hunt. Of the dozen hunters drawn, six are from Farmington, three from Iron County, and three from the Park Hills area.
Signs have been put in place near where the managed hunts are being held, letting the community know there is an archery hunt in progress.
One of the three areas for the hunt includes approximately 12 acres on the northwest portion of the airport — behind the mobile home park on Perrine Road. Conway said it’s important for residents in that area to be aware they may see a hunter out their back window, but strict guidelines are in place for the hunters to follow.
Conway said all Missouri Department of Conservation regulations regarding managed hunts apply in this special hunt. One rule is that hunters cannot shoot in the direction of a residence.
“We have taken precautions and we’ve notified the hunters and reminded them that all rules and regulations of MDC apply (for this managed hunt)," Conway said.
The hunt also includes around 20 acres between the east industrial park complex near U.S. 67, as well as an area in Engler Park behind the new development going up at the corner of Perrine Road and Vargo Road.
“We want everyone to know it is in a lesser-used area of the park, although there is a trail in there that runs from Perrine to the Lewis Trail inside the park,” he said. “They will not be hunting the main part of the sanctuary where the bird blind is. There are ‘no hunting’ signs along that area.”
In addition, Conway said, those hunters know they are not allowed to hunt within 100 feet of a road or a trail.
“We’ve been talking with our local game warden,” Conway added. “He’ll be out there making sure people are hunting safely and harvesting what they have tags for.”
A growing presence of deer at the Farmington Regional Airport is what prompted the city to take the steps to implement the special hunt.
“Deer in this area have not been harvested and deer easily adapt to new environments,” Conway said. “In a city environment, where you don’t allow hunting typically, you do experience overpopulation of deer. Several deer on Highway 67 have been hit between Hildebrecht and 221. Pilots have reported deer on the runway. We have recorded, and have seen a handful of deer on the runway or in the vicinity of the runway in the past several weeks.
“Managed hunts have been going on for a number of years. What makes this hunt different is that it is by lottery only and is on property owned by the city.
“For us, it’s really helping the city out to be able to do this and the sportsmen are getting a little fun out of it, too."
Managed hunts within municipalities is nothing new in the state. Similar hunts are held in communities in the St. Louis area annually as a way to control the deer population.
In this case, the 12 archery hunters can take as many deer as they can purchase tags for through the MDC.
Conway said the city is wanting to keep a total on how many deer are harvested through the special archery hunt, which runs through Jan. 15, 2018 ... the end date for archery hunting in Missouri until the fall.
He’s asked the hunters to contact him at the Farmington Civic Center at 756-0900 or by email at email@example.com with their harvest numbers along with the required reporting to the Missouri Department of Conservation.