Bowhunters help residents solve deer problem

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Hunters help residents solve deer problem

Kate Miller Of the Suburban Journals

8/10/2004

The Suburban Bowhunters is taking calls from West County residents who want help in solving their deer problems.

The deer population in West County has been a longstanding debate. Whether to control the population or how to control the population have been hard-fought battles in towns that attract wildlife.

The topic breeds deep emotions in people who want to preserve wildlife as well as in those who want to preserve their yards and property.

Lou Salamone is the director of the Suburban Bowhunters. He said his group offers advice in how to deter deer from people's yards. Additionally, if it is bow-hunting season, they will hunt deer for residents who want deer off their property.

"The Suburban Bowhunters is a bow-hunting club that was set up with the intent of solving deer problems in West County," Salamone said.

The Suburban Bowhunters advertise themselves as "professional," "ethical" and "discreet." They answer calls from individuals and do not charge for their services.

Salamone said he gets two or three calls each week.

"Somebody from every municipality out west has called for information," he said. As for requests for hunting, he said, "If the property is suited for bow hunting, if it's safe to do it, we'll do it."

Salamone said Town and Country residents are among the callers.

"People from Town and Country call, but (by city ordinance) we can't bow-hunt there," he said. "When they call, I try to give them advice on how to deter the deer from their yards; planting clover, where not to fertilize, where to leave the yard natural."

Town and Country and Creve Coeur are two examples of cities that have ordinances banning bow hunting. It is banned along with other weapons as a matter of public safety.

Other municipalities do allow bow hunting. Salamone said bow hunting is allowed in parts of Wildwood, Chesterfield, Maryland Heights and unincorporated St. Louis County.

Chesterfield, Maryland Heights and Wildwood city ordinances spell out where hunting can be done and which licenses and permits are required. Legal hunting also requires the property owner's permission.

Police in those municipalities said they have not received complaints from residents about bow hunters.

Residents in other towns, such as Clarkson Valley, where there have been city-authorized hunts, have complained about finding bow-struck, dead deer on properties far from where the hunt took place.

Salamone said that would not happen with his group.

He said deer are not lured; hunters wait and strike when they have a clear shot. He said, ideally, a shot is taken no more than 20 yards away and the first shot is usually fatal.

If it is not, he said, the ethical procedure is to follow the deer.

When the Bowhunters hit a deer, they remove the carcass. Salamone said the client can have the meat. Sometimes, at a cost to the hunters, they will have the meat prepared and donate it to Share the Harvest.

Salamone said the group hopes to create a fund so they can donate more meat.

He said in addition to calls asking for help, he has received calls complaining about the hunting service. He said in one instance, a woman said if she caught him shooting a deer, she would shoot him.

"People run them down in their cars and drive away, leaving them half-dead, and they say we're the bad guys for wanting to control the population," he said. "It makes me sick to see deer suffering like that.

"The problem is, there's been too much development without consideration to the wildlife, and now we have to deal with it."

Salamone said the club has about 30 members, most of whom live in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.

"I don't want anyone who would wound a deer," he said. "It's unethical, and I don't want unethical hunters in this group."

For more information on the Suburban Bowhunters, call (314) 393-2195.
 

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