For the third year in a row, the City of Redwood Falls held an archery deer hunt during 2017 in the area in and around Ramsey Park.

Paul Parsons, deer hunt coordinator, presented the results of this year’s hunt to the city council at its Jan.16 meeting.

According to Parsons, there were 47 people who applied for the hunt, and out of the applicants eight were new to the program.

In the end, the top 20 shooters were selected based on their scores in the established proficiency test, and each was assigned a specific stand location in the designated area.

The goal of the hunt was to harvest 40 deer, said Parsons, and at the end of the season, which runs simultaneously with the state archer deer hunt from Sept. 17 through Dec. 31, there were 20 deer harvested. Hunters who participate in the program are required to purchase a Minnesota DNR archery tag and a bonus archery tag, with the option of purchasing a second bonus tag.

The hunters were required to use their bonus tag(s) first on the harvest of does.

According to Jim Doering, city public works project coordinator, the program is encouraging the harvest of does, as they will fawn in the area and then that fawn will come back to the same area for future fawning.

If the does are harvested the thought is others will move out – not considering areas where the hunt takes place to be a safe haven. During the times when the hunters are in their stands, they are also asked to count any deer they see.

This year, said Parsons, there were 397 deer spotted, including 51 bucks, 169 does and 177 fawns. Parsons added that does not mean there are 397 deer in the designated area, as many of the same deer are being counted more than once. 

Overall, Parsons said it was a quiet year with no incidents, adding the hunters spent more than 690 hours in pursuit of harvesting a deer – an approximate average of 34 hours per hunter. In the end, 12 of the hunters harvested at least one deer, with eight of them harvesting two.

John Buckley, city council member, suggested a possible change to the process, as he said he knows there are a number of capable hunters who are not qualifying for the hunt based on the fact that they are not getting a high enough score. He suggested the possibility of establishing a minimum score, and that everyone who achieves that score then have their names drawn for the chance to hunt.

The council accepted the report and then authorized the deer hunting committee to reconvene to further review the results of the hunt and to determine if future hunts are warranted.

The application to conduct a hunt in 2018 is due by the end of February. Larry Arentson, city council member, asked if the hunt is making a difference.

Parsons said after three years it is hard to tell, adding he believes it is making an impact but the data is still being collected to determine in the long-term the impact on the population.

Parsons added he believes the hunt is making a difference, as the deer appear to be learning. In the first year, he said many of the deer would be out in the open and more easily targeted.

However, the harvest is becoming more challenging for those hunters as deer are becoming more cautious. “Time will tell,” said Parsons, adding the more data that is collected the more understanding there will be about the overall impact of the program. In its first three years a total of 64 deer have been harvested through the city’s annual archery deer hunt program.

In other action during its Jan. 16 meeting, the city council:

• Appointed Alex Petersen to his first full term on the port authority.

• Approved a request to submit a grant application to Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics toward the purchase of a maintenance utility vehicle for the airport. The grant would provide 80 percent of the expense for the vehicle, which has a cost of $14,854.93. The remaining amount would cover the required city match for the grant, which Jim Doering, public works project coordinator, said would come from the airport operating budget.

• Approved an updated job description for the assistant chief for the Redwood Falls Police Department. According to Jason Cotner, Redwood Falls police chief, the previous job description split the job into two major roles – administration and investigation. During the process of hiring a new chief, staff indicated there was a need for more of an investigative role in the department.

As a result, the updated job description would have the assistant chief spend 80 percent of the time working on investigation, with 10 percent on administration and 10 percent on patrol support. The other administrative duties would then be assigned to the chief.

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