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Shawnee Mission Park deer culling hasn't started yet

Despite dozens of protesters and curiosity-seekers showing up this weekend at Shawnee Mission Park, efforts to cut the deer population did not get under way.

"We're going to stay mum as to when it's actually going to occur," Sgt. Matt Gillespie, the supervisor on duty Saturday for the Johnson County Park Police, said about plans to bring sharpshooters into the park during closing hours for the deer cull.

Permits obtained from the state of Kansas and from cities with boundaries inside the park allowed for the shooting to begin late Friday. But Gillespie said dates and shooting teams haven't yet been firmed up, and even when they are, "we're going to be deliberately vague" as to when the cull commences.

He said planners want to avoid attracting protesters or others when deer are fired on.

The permits allow the cull to take place through Nov. 30. Proponents of the effort, citing a population explosion that threatens the park's ecosystem, hope to reduce the number of deer from 200 per square mile to 50 or less.

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