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JEFFERSON CITY, MO., NOV. 14, 2011 – Deer hunters will have a rare opportunity to harvest a whitetail deer in five Missouri state parks during managed deer hunts to alleviate deer overpopulations on two weekends in November and December. During the hunts, the parks will be closed to everyone except the deer hunters.
By law, state parks are established as wildlife refuges and hunting is not permitted except under special circumstances. However, these special hunts are being used as a resource management tool because the deer population is too large for the environment of the park and resources in the park are being damaged.
Special hunts will be conducted at the following parks on the following weekends:
· Nov. 19-20 - Pomme de Terre State Park near Pittsburg, including the campground and state park marina (the Hermitage area of the park will remain open).
· Dec. 10-11 - Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton.
· Dec. 10-11 - Knob Noster State Park near Knob Noster.
· Dec. 10-11 - Rock Bridge Memorial State Park near Columbia.
· Dec. 10-11 - Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and Historic Site near Lawson.
The hunts will be conducted following guidelines established by the Missouri Department of Conservation, which regulates hunting of wildlife in the state. Hunters who will be participating submitted special applications this summer for the Department of Conservation's special managed hunts, which are held annually. Hunters were selected through a random computer drawing. Only those hunters who already have a special permit will be allowed to participate in the hunts.
“These hunts benefit the parks because they help us manage the deer herd; they benefit the hunters because they provide a unique opportunity to provide protein for a family table, or for another family through the Share the Harvest program,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Missouri State Parks administers state parks and historic sites throughout Missouri. All other state parks and historic sites, other than the five listed, will not be affected by the hunts.
For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, call the Department of Natural Resources toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) or visit mostateparks.com.