Duluth hunt has mixed resultsIn Piedmont Heights in Duluth, avid gardener Bill Ziebarth is upset about the deer that have overrun his yard, causing damage to his hydrangeas, azaleas, lilacs and coniferous trees.
By: Forum Newspapers, Lake County News Chronicle
In Piedmont Heights in Duluth, avid gardener Bill Ziebarth is upset about the deer that have overrun his yard, causing damage to his hydrangeas, azaleas, lilacs and coniferous trees.
“I have 14-year-old trees they’ve never eaten, and now they’re deformed,” Ziebarth said referring to Austrian and mugo pines they’ve devoured. “It makes me want to cry.”
Increased concentrations of deer that congregate near homes in broad daylight and check for traffic before they cross the street could be, in part, because of efforts in control their numbers.
Rich Staffon, Cloquet Area Wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said it’s possible that city bow-hunting in the wilder parts of the city is pushing deer deeper into more-settled areas.
“So there may be fewer deer (overall) but more in the city,” he said.
Staffon also said a winter with early snowfall may have made it tougher for deer to survive, and that may be contributing to added damage seen by homeowners this year.
Duluth City Councilor Jackie Halberg said she’s been researching methods to curb the population, including the increase of bow-hunting in neighborhoods identified as “hot spots” for deer. Currently, residents can request that bow hunters come to their neighborhood, but they have to do it before hunting season begins or wait until next year.
Halberg has heard that some would like to give the Arrowhead Bowhunt Alliance more flexibility to respond to resident requests within a particular season.
“I’ve heard people say residents should just build a fence (to keep deer away), but I don’t think it adequately addresses this,” she said. “We need to sit down and have a conversation.”
Halberg said she was well aware of the city’s deer population. She’s had to stop her vehicle on Superior Street near the Incline Station while several deer crossed the street.
“It’s surreal,” she said. “They look before they cross.”
Staffon said that’s because recent generations of deer have been born and raised in Duluth and they’ve adapted well to urban life.
“It’s called habituation,” he said. “They lose that normal fear and learn how to survive.”
Nobody knows exactly how many deer are in Duluth because the city can’t afford the cost and time required for a survey, city forester Kelly Fleissner said.
He said he hasn’t heard more deer complaints this year than in past years, but said he’s surprised at how many deer live in Duluth despite the high numbers harvested by the Arrowhead Bowhunt Alliance.