Babler State Park closed this weekend for deer hunters

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)--  Andrea and Rob Andres are off on an adventure in Babler State Park.

But hikers like them will replaced by hunters this weekend.

"I think it's a good idea to keep them under control," says hiker Rob Andres.

Normally this wildwood state park is a wildlife refuge and hunting is not allowed.

But that will change this Saturday and Sunday.

"It's important to manage deer populations so they don't grow too big because if they grow too large you have problems with starvation, competition for food and increased possibilities of spreading disease," says Dan Zarleng of the Missouri Conservation Department.

Deer might be saying d'oh at Ha Ha Tonka, Knob Noster, St. Francois, Stockton and Harry S. Truman state parks.

"Cause deer that grow too large eat too much of the food for other wildlife," says Zarlenga.  "It also negatively affects other wildlife populations from songbirds to insects to other mammals."

Hunters applied last summer, but only a select few were chosen at random to take part in this weekend's managed hunt.

And with the statue of Dr. Babler looking over this state park, it's worth noting another reason for this weekend's hunt.

"In this state we had high predators like Timberwolves and mountain lions that preyed on deer and kept the populations steady but we don't have those anymore.  So the only predator deer have these days is man," says Zarlenga.

And it's up to man to maintain healthy herds.

"Yeah otherwise they're hitting your cars a lot and looking for food elsewhere and start moving into your properties and stuff," says Andrea Andres.  "So it's probably good to keep them in check."

It's a good idea to stay out of this state park this weekend, especially if you're a deer.