DES PERES, Mo. – Some Des Peres residents are upset over the city’s plans for a deer hunt using sharpshooters with rifles.

The hunt will be in the city’s public park, called Sugar Creek Park, next to Dougherty Ferry Road.

Some of the residents who live in the subdivision next to the park have safety concerns. Some said they did not know what was coming until they saw the signs the city put up, warning residents that the park would be closed because of the deer hunt.

“When we saw the sign that was put out, I saw it Friday that said there’s a deer management hunt that’s going to go on,” said Frank Marstiller. “We, the entire neighborhood, assumed, I guess the bow hunters are going to come, and then we got into the fine print and realized these are sharpshooters with rifles.”

Marstiller’s concerns were echoed by resident Thomas Greenman.

“I don’t care how good they are, a stray bullet from a high-powered rifle can go a couple miles to houses and danger,” Greenman said. “Dougherty Ferry Road, which is right next to the park, is a major east-west commuter drive. Who knows, it might hit a car.”

Des Peres City Manager Douglas Harms said the deer hunts are safe. He said Des Peres is using a company called White Buffalo to conduct the deer hunt.

“White Buffalo has a 20-year plus history of doing this nationwide without incidents,” Harms said. “The Department of Conservation has licensed them to do this; they’ve been doing the same thing in Town and Country for well over a decade with no incidents of any kind. There are a lot of protocols in place, like shooting from elevated platforms, so the shots are downward. Shooting from the perimeter of the property inward toward the property, not out towards the subdivisions.”

The deer hunt will last from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1. The city manager insists there is no way around the hunt.

“We’re getting the same complaints that everybody else in west county is getting about deer-car collisions, about dead deer along the side of the road,” Harms said. “Calls about deer hung up on fences where we’ve got to go euthanize them.”