Picture yourself or your neighbor going deer hunting in your subdivision during bow hunting season.

Picture yourself or your neighbor going deer hunting in your subdivision during bow hunting season.

Or picture yourself hunting for deer on city parkland during bow hunting season.

All the Rolla City Council needs to do is change one ordinance, Jason Sumners, a deer biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, told council Monday night.

Sumners was brought to the council meeting by Conservation Agent Darrin Wood in response to a request from former city Councilman Gary Hicks, now a Phelps County commissioner, who asked the city administration to consider allowing the harvest of deer inside the city limits to cut down the population of the animals, which Hicks saw as a gardening problem for homeowners.

"Just alter the ordinance to allow archery and they can take the deer on their private land," Sumners said. "That's the easiest thing."

Of course, the hunters would have to follow statewide hunting regulations.

The council could also change ordinances to allow hunting on city-owned land, either openly under the statewide hunting regulations or with a managed deer hunt. The city could require a training session or proof of training.

"With any change in the ordinance, I would strongly recommend a requirement for training," City Counselor Lance Thurman said.

Sumners indicated he did not see the deer population as a problem, speaking from a biological perspective.

However, local residents who are having trees, shrubs and gardens damaged or destroyed might see the deer a different light, he acknowledged.

City Administrator John Butz said, "We do allow some limited bow hunting in rural residential (zoned) areas."

Sumners noted that Jefferson City had a five-acre minimum for its bow hunting in the city limits, but that city did away with that limit and there has been no problem.

Training for bow hunters on city property could be required completion of the National Bow hunters Certification program or the city could offer a training class.

He stressed that bow hunters are engaged in a sport that is not easy, so they are careful and protective of the sport. He said he did not foresee the city having problem with bow hunters causing problems.

"We are planning to do an urban deer summit." Sumners said, so once that conference is set, the city council could send representatives to participate.

In a related discussion, Sumners and Wood were asked about the number of armadillos, raccoons, squirrels, even bobcats and bears, spotted in the city limits.

"From my perspective it's part of a healthy ecosystem, Sumners said. "They are things we just have to live with."

Wood said homeowners have a right to trap animals that are causing damage on their property. He said he would prefer the animals be put down rather than released at Little Prairie Lake or some other area where there are already enough predators. "Just call and report that they've been taken," he said.

The council took no action.