YOU ARE HERE: KSPR HomeCollections

Expanding Deer Population Harms Ozark Neighborhoods and Vehicles

There are nearly 100,000 deer in Missouri

October 21, 2011|Mary Moloney |

Springfield, MO —

Firearm Deer Hunting Season is just around the corner and the animal population is at an all-time high.

"There are a lot of deer in Missouri," said Francis Skalicky, spokesperson with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

For more on the Missouri Department of Conservation, click here.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are nearly 1,000,000 deer in Missouri. The animals aren’t just in the woods.

"Deer are very adaptable to a number of situations. They can be found in woodlands, they can be found in heavily farmed areas, they can be found in urban areas. And this is one reason why they are so numerous," explained Skalicky.

Deer have found their way into Springfield neighborhoods. The lack of predators and abundance of food have helped deer to multiply fast.


“An overpopulation of deer is not the best of things for Missouri and it's not good for the deer either,” said Skalicky. "When deer numbers get concentrated, they can easily spread diseases from one deer to another and also their food source disappears."

Deer can also get in the roads and cause severe damage, potentially thousands of dollars worth of damage. On Friday before noon, three vehicles were taken to Hammer’s Autoworks in Springfield after hitting deer.

"Deer are going to be coming from the ditches and the side roads. You always want to glance around, make sure that you don't see anything moving. They can come from everywhere and anywhere though," said Nate Lillich, one of the owners of Hammer’s Autoworks.

"They are in their mating season which means bucks are chasing does, there's a lot of movement,” said Skalicky. “All deer are feeding heavily at this time of year because instinctually they know winter is coming on. They are fattening up."

The weather and even construction can motivate deer to travel.

“There are deer that actually migrate into the city when they are scared. Especially on your major highways, on 65, on James River,” said Lillich. “When they are doing road construction, if that’s a place where deer usually are, they are being scared out by the machinery and the construction crews.”

If deer come in your path, the experts say just to hit it.

"If you see a deer and you are going to hit it, please do not try to swerve and miss it. You are better off hitting a deer,” explained Lillich. “You do not want to go into a ditch; you do not want to hit a tree. You will do more damage to your vehicle and more damage to yourself. So unfortunately, the deer is the best thing you can hit."

There is a little bit of good news insurance wise if a deer is hit by a car. If the policy holder has comprehensive insurance, companies will consider the wreck an act of nature and premiums will not go up.

To control the deer population, hunting is encouraged. The 2011-2012 Archery Deer and Turkey Hunting season is from September 15 to November 11, and from November 23 to January 15, 2012.

Early youth Firearms season is from November 5-6 and shortly after that from November 12-22 the entire state will be able to hunt with firearms.

KSPR 33 Articles