City deer hunt talk returnsThe prospect of an archery deer hunt in the city limits of Two Harbors has been raised again but the city council has a long way to go if it plans to hold a hunt by next fall.
The prospect of an archery deer hunt in the city limits of Two Harbors has been raised again but the city council has a long way to go if it plans to hold a hunt by next fall.
Police Chief Chris Donald and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Matt Miller spoke with the council Monday wanting to know what the city plans to do.
Donald wants to know if the city wants an eradication program or simply a recreational hunt. City council members said a little of both.
The problem with a deer hunt is that it won’t solve the problem of too many deer in the city, Donald said. The limited areas where there could be hunting – Harbor Hills, Segog, and north of the golf course – would allow for only a dozen permits, he said. A hunt will not solve the problem,” Donald said. “You shoot maybe 30 a year. They’ll be right back.”
Council members said any deer taken would be a benefit. Donald agreed that “we’ve never seen this many deer” in city limits.
Council member John Dover said a hunt might put a dent in the population in the northern part of the city, meaning only “one side of town is getting help. I think you’re only going to help half the town.”
The DNR’s Miller said any hunt within city limits is the sole responsibility of the city. He said a hunt or sharpshooting to cull herds makes sense in cities where traffic control is a problem, like in Duluth, where traffic speeds make running into a deer a deadly hazard for drivers. He and Donald said low speed limits within the city lessen the argument for traffic safety.
Council members said the concern is for those who lose vegetation in their yard and for the predators that come in with a higher deer population.
“The wolves are here for the deer,” Miller said. “And the deer are here for the lake.” Deer are attracted to the warmer climate near Lake Superior. Miller said he hasn’t heard of any reports of wolves in city limits but did help a friend who lives just outside of town bury a dog attacked by a wolf.
Council member Steve Detlefsen said he has seen wolves in his yard.
Area Wildlife Manager Bob Kirsch from the DNR’s Two Harbors office said a wolf could be “reported any day” but he hasn’t had one yet. The DNR doesn’t inventory the herd in the city so he has no idea if the number has fluctuated or not.
Miller said federal rules on wolves prevent doing anything about them. There are no such protections on other predators found in the city, such as coyotes.
Miller said selling the idea of a deer hunt is the main hurdle in cities. In Hermantown, there are several complaints a year about its hunt, mainly about deer found on private property after being hit by hunters.
Council members said they want to talk with the local Drop Tine chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association about helping out with a hunt, mainly for tracking deer and resolving any problems with city dwellers. They have told council members in the past that they would help organize a hunt.
Donald is skeptical on the effectiveness of a hunt. “Are we solving a problem or making a bigger one?” he asked.
The council leaned toward allowing a hunt next fall after working out the details and assuring a way to track the effectiveness. With the possibility of four new members of the council being sworn in January, Dan Jones suggested more discussion then.
Mary Rosati would be one of those off the council should she be elected to the Lake County board in Tuesday’s election. She remained adamant on not allowing a hunt. “I like them,” she said of the deer. “I live in northern Minnesota where deer are allowed to join me.”