Sunday, September 7, 2014

One landowner thinks wolves are answer to keeping check on Missouri’s large deer herd

Posted: Saturday, September 6, 2014 
AUGUSTA, Mo. — Chuck Dressel thinks the time has come for Missouri to restore one of its apex predators — the red wolf.
Red wolves were historically found in the Ozarks, but one hasn’t been seen in the wild in the state since at least 1950.

The president of Mount Pleasant Winery in Augusta, Dressel says the state is overrun with deer and other animals. “Our main farming operation is growing grapes. Raccoons can eat enormous amounts of grapes when they are on the vine. Our loss is as high as 20 or 30 percent.“The wolf doesn’t eat grapes, but it eats raccoons,” Dressel said.
Likewise for white-tailed deer. The population exploded from a low of around 400 in Missouri in 1925 to close to 1.6 million statewide a decade ago, but has fallen slightly since then, to less than 1.4 million.
Deer are doing tremendous damage on his 130-acre vineyard.“We see the effects of defoliation from deer eating everything,” he said. “Leaves are the equivalent of a solar panel. You strip out 30 percent of the energy and you can really screw up the grape vine.”
“The populations (raccoon and deer) we have here are not able to be kept in check by the coyote or the fox. A native predator would ... keep them in check.