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Blue Earth delving into deer problem

BLUE EARTH — Blue Earth City Council on Monday discussed possible solutions to a growing deer population in the city.

The council first discussed the matter in early March, after council members had been approached by residents who had seen deer in town, with the deer eating their plants and shrubs.

The council spoke about options from the Department of Natural Resources to decrease the deer population, including offering a special hunt, offering financial assistance to grow plants that are less likely to be eaten by deer, or working with the DNR to create a deer management plan and potentially hiring sharpshooters at city expense.

Other options brought up at the March 5 meeting included the possibility of a “no feed” policy, as it was noticed that some people in the city feed the deer, and getting the state to release more doe permits to hunters in Faribault County.

On Monday, City Administrator Tim Ibisch brought in resolutions that ban deer feeding from Bellingham, Wash., and Sioux Falls, S.D., as examples of how the city could reduce the deer population. According to Ibisch, both resolutions are fairly recent.

“So obviously this issue is something that’s affecting a lot of communities nationwide,” he said.

Currently, Ibisch said, there is nothing in Blue Earth City Code that directly addresses deer feeding. The council would need to pass an ordinance to change local law.

Councilman Glenn Gaylord does not believe that deer feeding is the problem. Instead, he says the reason deer are coming into town is to get away from coyotes. Gaylord said that in the mornings one can see coyote tracks in the snow, and maybe the DNR should address the coyote problem instead of the deer.

“What I think is happening is that the deer are coming into the community because they’re less afraid of the humans as they are of the coyotes chasing them at the edge of town,” Gaylord said.

The council decided not to create an ordinance addressing deer feeding, and instead look into bringing in a DNR representative to a future council work session to discuss the issue.

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