Archived Story

FF Council to vote on deer hunt

Published 11:37am Monday, August 6, 2012

Mayor Hal Leland is hoping that Fergus Falls residents’ voices will be heard at Monday’s city council meeting during a discussion about the in-city deer hunt proposed for this fall. The Fergus Falls Finance Committee recommended approval of the hunt to the city council on Wednesday, but Leland says he’s heard from residents concerned about the hunt’s potential dangers.

Alderman Jim Fish originally brought up the topic in May. In addition to recreational enjoyment by a few hunters, the hunt – which would be archery only – would also be a sort of trial run to curb the number of car/deer run-ins in city limits, both through actual thinning of the deer population and by deer leaving the area due to the presence of hunters. In 2011 and 2012 through early June, there were 18 car/deer accidents in city limits.

“This is not a bonus hunt,” said Police Chief Kile Bergren. “What the city would be allowing is just … for hunting to occur within the city limits.”

On Wednesday, Fish joked that though some deer did eat some of his plants this year, they did so after he proposed the hunt.

“This is not revenge,” he said with a chuckle.

However, the hunt was no laughing matter for Leland, who is not on the committee but was in attendance. At the close of the meeting, he approached the podium and said he did not want to see the hunt on the council’s consent agenda Monday, preferring that it be discussed as a separate item instead.

“I’ve had some commentary especially from people along the (Otter Tail) River who are very concerned,” he said, noting that some are worried about public safety.

“My concern is that the public hasn’t had much information on this, and (they should) be able to ask some questions,” Leland told The Journal. He believes some aspects of the hunt, including its purpose and its safeguards, are unclear to many residents.

Though Bergren noted that he is not advocating for or against the hunt (he put together information and guidelines about it at the council’s request), he said the hunt’s rules are designed to keep people out of danger.

The hunt would only allow 10 hunters (possibly fewer) to hunt in a few designated areas on the outskirts of the city, away from residential areas: around the wastewater treatment plants south of Otter Tail Drive and south of County Road 1 (not near Red Sox Park), west of the Fergus Falls Industrial Park and on the old Norgren property near the city’s northeast boundary. The hunters, who would be selected by lottery, would all need to have a Minnesota DNR archery license and would shoot deer in city limits in accordance with the license, as if the deer were shot outside the city. They would also need to pass an archery proficiency test, wear an identifying “back tag” and would not be allowed to change hunting areas once the hunting period begins.

Bergren added that some possible locations have already been nixed for permitting reasons, availability of deer, and concerns – perceived or legitimate – about safety.

“The areas are really not in residential areas,” he said. “There would be a few residents possibly affected near the water treatment plant. I believe by the Norgren property there would be only one resident there.”

Leland said a prime concern of some people he’s talked to is that the hunt be nowhere near residential areas. He was not sure if any residents would speak out about the hunt, but he said it was very possible.

The city council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

  • P. Carlson

    Are the proposed hunting areas owned by private citizens or city owned property far enough from private land where a stray arrow can not fly to private property and kill someone. Such as a child playing in his/her own yard?
    Private property near hunting areas should be posted with no tresspassing signs for resident safety if this crazy dangerous idea of hunting in city limits happens.

  • Pingback: FF Council to vote on deer hunt – Fergus Falls Daily Journal | The Art Of Hunting

  • Tammie

    As an avid bowhunter I can understand the concerns of residents when it comes to not knowing all the facts about archery. The average archery shot when hunting is less than 20 yards. As far as being hit by a stray arrow, yes it can happen, but the chances are very slim. For an arrow to travel any distance there would have to be nothing in it’s path – any branch, grass, bush, etc in its way would be cause for it to drop, slow down or come to a complete stop. I like the idea of having an archery proficiency test to make sure that the hunter is familiar with his/her equipment & is an accurate shot. 10 hunters is not a ton of people and I bet that most residents will not even know when they are out in the field hunting. There are several cities & states that already allow archery hunts within city limits (Red Wing, Burnsville, Andover to name a couple in MN); if we were to look at how they run their hunt and see statistics of accidents and how many deer are actually harvested it would help the city come up with guidelines that are positive for everyone.

  • medlynn

    Am amazed that the city has nothing more important thing to worry about than a few beautiful animals within our city limits. One of lifes small pleasures is watching deer in my backyard or in of our beautiful parks where I eat lunch and watch twin fawns almost daily.
    Perhaps we should have a dog hunt. My guess is that there are at least as many dog/human incidents within the city limits.

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