To Shoot Or Not in Subdivisions?
Hunting in subdivisions sparks debate in Wildwood.
Hunting in or near subdivisions generates heated conversations in Wildwood.
Missouri's revised statutes and Missouri Department of Conservation regulations all address hunting and firearm use in general terms, but allow local jurisdictions, such as Wildwood, to establish and enforce more restrictive measures. Various state and local laws also govern trespass regulations, obtaining and displaying hunting permits, property owner and hunter liability as well as property signage.
Specific actions prohibited in Wildwood subdivisions include firing or discharging a firearm or any archery device from across any street, sidewalk, road, highway or any park, playground or recreational area. A hunter also must have written permission to hunt on someone else's land. Those wishing to hunt within the corporate limits of Wildwood must take a hunter safety course.
All this being said, Wildwood is not the vast, open land it used to be. With the increasing number of homes in Wildwood subdivisions, there is less space between homes, which makes it more difficult to shoot a firearm safely within or near a neighborhood.
Some hunters argue that the deer population has grown in the Wildwood area and needs to be reduced. As hunters, they are doing nothing wrong by hunting in or near subdivisions, as long as they hunt within the law.
Some residents of Hawks Rest subdivision in Wildwood, who would like to remain anonymous, raise concerns and complaints. One family was in their house when a stray bullet pierced the wall of their kitchen. Another concerned resident said she was in her front yard with her two small children, when she had to rush inside because she heard rapid gunshots, obviously close to where she and her children were playing.
"We have the issue of the old bumping into the new. We have people that have been living out here 50 years that have always hunted on their land and continue to want to do so,” said Joe Vujnich, Wildwood's director of planing and parks. “We also have the people that feed the deer and think of them as backyard pets. Then we also have the people that really don't care, just as long as they stay off of their property."
"The department is happy to inform anyone that comes to us and asks us for hunting regulations and laws, free of charge," said officer Brad Wood of the St. Louis County-Wildwood Precinct. He also asked that hunters inform themselves about all hunting laws, including ordinances in individual neighborhoods before they decide to hunt.
Any questions regarding hunting regulations can be directed to the Wildwood 6th precinct of the St. Louis County Police Department, Wildwood city officials or Missouri Department of Conservation representatives.