For the second year the City of Redwood Falls conducted an archery deer hunt in 2016, and according to Paul Parsons, deer hunt coordinator, the program appears to be doing its job.

One year ago, hunters reported seeing 699 deer while in their designated stands, and this year that report listed sightings of a total of 459 deer.

There were 22 deer harvested during the season, which coincided with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) archery season that runs from Sept. 17 through Dec. 31.

“This year we had 49 applicants compared to 45 last year,” said Parsons, who presented the 2016 archery deer hunt data to the city council in January. “Each of the applicants goes through a proficiency test, with the top 20 places being allowed to hunt.”

The hunters are allowed two bonus tags as part of the hunt, which meant, with their own DNR archery tag, each hunter could have potentially harvested three deer. This year there were 21 does and one buck harvested. There were also 22 deer harvested during the first year of the hunt.

“Two individuals actually tagged out,” said Parsons.

Parsons said the program is operated in conjunction with the Redwood Falls Police Department, and each hunter must sign in and sign out when they are going to be hunting in their designated places in the Ramsey Park area. The hunters spent a total of 654 hours hunting this year, an average of 32 hours per hunter, said Parsons, adding the observations included seeing 50 bucks, 228 does and 181 fawn yearlings.

Parsons clarified that does not mean there were that many total deer, as many of the sightings are likely of the same animals. Most of the deer were harvested during the afternoon hours.

While the 22 deer harvested is helping to reduce the deer population in the city, the reality is that there are still plenty of deer, and with many sightings of young deer the indication is that the population is still not being diminished all that much. What that means is there still seems to be a need to continue the program.

“Overall, I think it was another successful hunt,” said Parsons, who added safety is always emphasized with all of the hunters.

Jim Doering, city public works projects coordinator, who assisted Parsons with the deer hunt, said the plan would now be to reconvene the deer hunt committee to further discuss the hunt and to determine if the program is going to continue.

Doering added for the city to hold the hunt again in 2017 an application must be submitted by the end of February. A recommendation from the committee will be presented to the city council before the application for the 2017 hunt is submitted.

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