Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • City considers steps to thin airport deer population

  • A deer hunt is one option being considered to lower the deer population at Hannibal Regional Airport.


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  • A deer hunt is one option being considered to lower the deer population at Hannibal Regional Airport.
    The idea, which was raised last month during a meeting of the Airport Advisory Board, is nothing new.
    “We started the process a little over a year ago,” said Mark Rees, director of Public Works for the city, who indicated that the Missouri Department of Conservation gave the proposal its blessing. “Other things came up and the idea lost traction. We just didn’t follow through.”
    According to Rees, if such a hunt does take place, it would only be open to bow hunters. No firearm hunting will be allowed.
    “It would not be a recreational sport. The purpose would be to take deer out so they will not cause aircraft a problem,” he said, adding that the airport would not have to be shut down since hunters would be restricted to areas along the tree line, which is a significant distance from the runway.
    At least once during the past couple of years an aircraft’s wheel reportedly struck a deer taking off from Hannibal Regional Airport, according to Mike Barron, manager at the Hannibal airport.
    “It didn’t hurt anything, but they did come into contact,” he said.
    Aircraft preparing to land at Hannibal’s airport around dusk and after dark regularly do a flyover of the runway before attempting to land in the hope that any deer on or near the runway will be scared off.
    “We try to make that a standard practice,” said Barron.
    The presence of deer is not limited to evenings. During a recent midday skydiving event at the airport, George Walley, a member of the Airport Advisory Board, reported seeing two deer race across the runway. Brian Chaplin, assistant to the city engineer, said he was at the airport one day and saw a half dozen deer standing on and near one end of the runway.
    The deer situation at Hannibal’s airport is not uncommon, according to Barron.
    “Pretty much deer are an issue at any rural airport across the Midwest,” he said.
    In the past, deer were not the only concern of pilots using Hannibal Regional Airport.
    “Geese were a problem. We haven’t seen any the last two years to speak of. Deer now are the main concern,” said Barron.
    Would Barron support a deer hunt at the airport?
    “Anything that cuts down on the (deer) population is probably good,” he said.
    Rees says if the city decides to press forward with a deer hunt, he will be working closely with Police Chief Lyndell Davis in setting up the criteria for the selection of hunters.
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