Blue Earth council: deer hunt is a no go

BLUE EARTH — Having discussed different solutions to the city’s deer population problem over the past month, the Blue Earth City Council on Monday decided not to go forward with a deer hunt.

The deer population in Blue Earth has been a topic of discussion by the council since early March, when council members spoke about complaints from residents who had seen deer in town and experienced deer eating their plants and shrubs.

After discussing possible solutions, such as a feed ban, council members had a meeting with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in March, who suggested that the city sponsor a bow and arrow hunt. With this, the city would set a number of deer permits to hunters on specified city-owned land to control the population.

For the city council’s Monday meeting, Blue Earth Police Chief Tom Fletcher wrote a report about the deer hunt held by the City of New Ulm for the past 20 years. The deer hunt is held from Oct. 14 to Dec. 31 and uses the state park, a privately-owned golf course, a brewery and city land.

According to the report, the hunters who qualify for a permit must follow a strict set of rules while participating in the hunt.

To manage the hunt, the City of New Ulm compensates an officer a flat rate of $2,500 and also pays another officer $500 a year to assist him. Fletcher said that he would be able to find officers within the department to fill those positions.

Fletcher said that while it is logistically possible for the city to sponsor a deer hunt, he has a few safety concerns, including wounded deer being in the city.

“I do have my reservations,” said Fletcher.

Council member John Huisman showed support for the deer hunt, citing the success that New Ulm has had with it.

“I can’t see any downside to doing it,” said Huisman.

Mayor Richard Scholtes said that it’s likely that a deer hunt would be the only solution to the city’s deer population problem.

“For me this is the only viable option, that we have to do this to get rid of some of the deer population,” said Scholtes.

Council member Glenn Gaylord said that he doesn’t believe that a deer hunt would be effective.

“I think this is going to cause way more trouble and problems than we’re ever going to get results out of it,” said Gaylord.

City Administrator Tim Ibisch said that the deadline to register a special hunt with the DNR is May 4, and that the council would have to make a decision about how to go forward.

Huisman made a motion to authorize the deer hunt to be submitted to the DNR. However, with no council member seconding the motion, it failed. At that time, the council did not discuss any other plans of action regarding the city’s deer population.


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