Shawnee Mission deer culling cost $54,000, park officials say

Shooting 313 deer in Shawnee Mission Park cost the Johnson County Park and Recreation District about $54,000 or $172 per deer, according to park officials.

The biggest expense was just learning how to do it. White Buffalo Inc., a national wildlife management firm, charged the district $28,452 to train area volunteer policeman to shoot the deer. The company also provided advice on the methods and equipment used in the deer culling. The payment also includes travel, lodging and meals for White Buffalo personnel.

The second biggest expense was processing the meat once 313 deer were shot. That cost $19,900.

Harvesters Community Food Network received 11,359 pounds of ground venison. They are currently distributing this meat to programs that feed low-income families in the Kansas City area. So far, 59 agencies have asked for the meat.

An additional 500 pounds was given to the Johnson County Human Services Department for its food pantries.

Park officials wanted to reduce the current deer herd from almost 200 per square mile to 50. However, shooting 313 deer reduced the herd to an estimated 73 per square mile and bow hunters have been called in to finish the job.

No other expenses are anticipated as the process enters the bow hunting phase. The bow hunters will be allowed to keep the deer they kill.

Randy Knight, a park spokesman, said the money to pay for the deer harvest comes from the district’s general fund budget, which is supported by county tax dollars.

The district budgeted $50,000 in an account aimed at controlling invasive species. Another $50,000 has been budgeted for next year.

Park officials have said they will consider non-lethal options for future deer control but have not approved a plan.