Deer Management Program Begins October 22
The City’s Deer Management Archery Program was developed to cull the herd of urban deer in Owatonna. Archers can hunt in one of 11 wooded parks. 34 permits are available in two seasons. This year’s program runs from October 22 until December 17 in Cashman Park, Hamman Park, Kaplan’s Woods, Kaplan’s Woods Parkway, Kriesel Park, Leo Rudolph Park, Manthey Park, Maple Creek Park, Mineral Springs Park, Nass Woods Park and North Straight River Parkway.
These parks remain open to the public during the program. For informational purposes, maps of hunter locations can be found at the main entrance to each park and online at Owatonna.gov. Signs posted at each park entrance alerts the public in English, Spanish and Somali.
Program participants must hold a valid hunting license, follow all Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rules and local requirements and pass a proficiency test. Park staff selects the locations for the elevated stands based on deer movement patterns and proximity to main trails and park boundaries. Participants must communicate weekly with park staff and whenever a deer is taken.
Each year, the program is approved by the DNR at a state level. The City Council approved a revision to Chapter 133 of the City Code to support the program. Local DNR officials recommend continuing the program based on robust numbers of deer in the vicinity and on population modeling from the Wildlife Research Unit suggesting deer populations in the area continue to grow and numbers are likely above goal. Managing urban deer stabilizes the population and helps keep deer from becoming too habituated to people. It is important to continue efforts to help keep numbers in a socially acceptable range to most citizens, mitigate deer grazing and browsing impacts to park vegetation, impacts to peoples’ yards and gardens and reduce deer/vehicle collisions. The DNR views such controlled archery programs “as a safe means to help manage deer numbers toward a goal of avoiding greater conflicts with deer that can arise due to deer damage to property and natural habitats or disease concerns.”
As a reminder, City Ordinance 90.47 and 90.62 state that “No person shall feed or allow the feeding of wild animals as defined in 90.61 within the City.” And, a reminder for pets and owners using parks and trails that City Ordinance 90.01 requires “any animal in a public park shall only be deemed to be under control when such animal is attached to a leash held by the owner or the owner’s agent.”