Saturday, May 31, 2014

Special hunts intended to significantly reduce the number of deer at Hannibal Regional Airport (KHAE) wound up bringing down just eight animals


Special hunts intended to significantly reduce the number of deer at Hannibal Regional Airport wound up bringing down just eight animals.

“That’s less than I thought they’d get,” said George Walley, chairman of the city’s Airport Advisory Board, during a meeting of that body earlier this month. “With all the high brush it makes for a nice home.”

Considering the Missouri Department of Conservation had placed a limit of 40 deer that could be taken during the special hunts, were city officials disappointed?

“I’m not disappointed,” said Mark Rees, director of public works for the city. “I hope that’s a reflection of how many deer we were dealing with out there. Time will tell. I’m anxious now to hear as we go through the next couple of months or year what the pilots are seeing as they’re trying to land. If they’re seeing way, way fewer deer, I’m very optimistic about that. If they continue to see deer we obviously didn’t take as many as we should have.”

Robin Carroll, the airport’s fixed base operator, reported following the May 14 meeting of the Advisory Board that since the hunts ended she had heard nothing from pilots regarding deer, nor had she seen any new pictures of deer on airport property.

Deer concerns heightened at the Hannibal airport after an Oct. 29, 2013, incident in which a pilot attempting to land reported nearly hitting one of nine deer on the runway. The pilot aborted the attempted landing, circled the field and landed without incident.

The three April hunts were conducted by members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) team. The local portion of the estimated $2,000 cost to bring the APHIS team to Hannibal was covered by a third-party grant.

Even if the deer herd becomes a nuisance again at the airport, Rees stopped short of saying the city would bring back the APHIS team.

“This deer hunt was planned as a one-time opportunity to our city. We really haven’t planned any future hunts at all,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to get a wildlife fence up and let the airport and deer peacefully cohabitate. That’s quite a ways down the line realistically. It’s a significant investment of about half a million bucks and the city match could be 10 percent of that. It would take a while before the city is able to afford that, or raise the money for the local match.”

All the deer taken during the airport hunts were transported to a processing plant and were distributed through the Share the Harvest program.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.