Deer Management

IMG_3436(2)_edited-1

JCPRD to offer lottery-based archery hunt through a special program at Shawnee Mission Park

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District (JCPRD) will be shifting its deer management program to archery-managed hunting at Shawnee Mission Park for the upcoming management season. Two closed access areas will be available to approved KS resident bowhunters in the greater Shawnee Mission Park area in the initial year of the program via lottery. The JCPRD program started 11 years ago and addresses overabundant deer populations that result in deer-auto accidents, damage to high-quality natural areas, and herd health.  This routine activity balances deer with available habitat and human land use.

Signs alerting the public of all deer population management areas are posted in advance along the boundaries of the closed access areas.  Archery deer hunting is conducted by pre-screened local hunters, under the direction of JCPRD and KDWP professional staff. Archery-managed deer hunts will take place in an abbreviated season from Nov 1st to January 31st this season, with a full season expected in 2022.

The 2021 window for lottery submissions is October 1st -15th.

All participants must complete the pre-screening packet, hold harmless form, and submit a KS bowhunter education certificate number to be entered into the lottery. JCPRD seeks individuals with a history of hunting experience and a record of success.

For specific questions please contact Matt Garrett, Field Biologist, at matthew.garrett@jocogov.org

WHITE-TAILED DEER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF OVERABUNDANT DEER

Studies have found that at high densities, the amount of browsing done by deer can have detrimental effects on local natural areas. Overbrowsing can eliminate native understory herbaceous plants, shrubs, forbs, and saplings resulting in a forest with only adult canopy trees. Native understory plants are a critical source of food and cover for other wildlife species in the forest. The loss of these plants can be very detrimental to these other species. Saplings represent the future canopy layer. As older trees die, saplings will grow up to replace them. Uncontrolled browse by deer can result in the failure of our local oak-hickory forests. 

High deer density populations can significantly influence prairie vegetation by causing a shift in plant species abundance and competitive abilities in a way that favors grasses over forbs, reducing prairie plant diversity, and influence pollinator habitats for critically threatened native bees. 

The removal of native plants from an ecosystem opens it up to invasion by exotic plants like Bush Honeysuckle and Garlic Mustard. Generally, deer do not browse these plants giving them a competitive advantage over native species. Once invasive plants get a foothold, they can quickly spread and overtake large expanses of habitat. Invasive plants provide little to no value to wildlife species in terms of food or cover quality. The removal of invasive plants over large areas requires enormous amounts of time, money, and manpower.

The primary goal of the JCPRD's Deer Management Program is to manage the deer population in a way that promotes maximum biodiversity levels in the habitats under its care. JCPRD continues to work towards reducing populations at Shawnee Mission Park to levels that will allow for successful habitat restoration, both natural and assisted. Other parks exhibit little or lesser damage from deer and contain lower density populations. In these parks, with future hunts, the goal is to maintain the deer population at levels that allow healthy habitats to continue to thrive. JCPRD works with bowhunters registered in the program to focus their harvest efforts on female deer. Since females can reach reproductive maturity at one year of age and generally produce two fawns each year, they can contribute the most to population growth.