Management needed to check city’s deer herds
The De Soto City Council will hear an appeal Thursday from a state wildlife management biologist that it take two steps to manage the local deer population.
De Soto is an odd city. Because of the annexation of five years ago, the vast majority of its territory is undeveloped. Much of that open land is in the Kansas River floodplain that will never see a new home, business or parking lot. A good deal more is in the Cedar Creek watershed that the city's comprehensive plan sets aside for estate-lots. Add to that the 9,065-acre Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, and there is plentiful open space in De Soto or in the vicinity on which there is no hunting to control deer populations.
The Cornbelt from northeastern Kansas to the Great Lakes has been described by one Kansas game biologist as a near perfect environment for deer. What nature doesn't provide, farmers do in the way of nourishing row crops. Without management practices, the deer population will grow to its carrying capacity, when disease and starvation will reduce herds.
City Council members have safety concerns about stray arrows or the unpredictable behavior of wounded deer. Those concerns should be balanced by already present and potential dangers. A deer/vehicle accident claimed a life three years ago on the De Soto section of Kansas Highway 10. Too, there is the danger an unregulated deer population will face starvation and disease, which could lead to unpredictable behavior on a much larger scale.
In the De Soto region, the growth of the deer population is so acute that the state is allowing hunters to take extra deer with the goal of checking the population.