Lenexa, Kansas – After testimony from dozens of angry Johnson County residents, the Park Board voted unanimously to approve a report that recommends sharpshooters and archers be used to cull the deer population in Shawnee Mission Park. Officials say there are roughly four hundred deer in park, eight times more than the park can sustain.
Many residents have testified that they think it would be immoral to carry out a controlled hunt to limit the deer population in Shawnee Mission Park. Others say it isn't necessary.
Lenexa resident Jan Pierce, who spends a lot of time in the park, says the slight increase in traffic accidents mentioned in the Park Board report on the deer problem could be caused not by the number of deer in the park, but by ongoing development in the area. She says she has seen no evidence of over-foraging or starvation of deer, some of the known effects of overpopulation.
To the people of the Parkhurst Homes Association who have complained that deer have destroyed their gardens, Pierce says the problem has been overblown. "Perhaps a petunia or two has been lost in the process," she allows. "But those residents moved next to a wildlife preserve, and if they don't like wildlife in their neighborhood . . . then it is their responsibility to erect a deer fence to keep them out of their development."
Sharpshooters and archers will hunt the deer on specified days in the Fall. The park will be closed on those days for safety. The Park Board report says meat from the hunt will be processed and distributed to the poor.