City Council approves archery deer hunts in Rochester parks

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – It’s the first of its kind in Rochester.

“It’s not uncommon, I mean it happens in cities all around,” said Terry Spaeth, Rochester Archery Club President.

Rochester City Council approved of a bow deer hunt, passing it along to the city park board. The board will then decide on some details of the hunts.

“The park board may determine that they may want to look at particular parks and maybe restrict it, and we’re going to be talking to the park board about that,” said Spaeth.

Spaeth says his group is teaming up with the city on this program.

He says not just anyone will get to hunt: hunters will have to apply for spots, and must be vetted for bow hunting proficiency. Spots will be at a premium, so all names will be drawn out of a hat.

“These are people that know what they’re doing and would do it as ethically as possible,” said Spaeth.

The support for these hunts stems from concerns over the city’s rising deer population.

“It is very important if nature can’t control the populations, if they get too high, then if we want to step in and help that out,” said Jaide Ryks, a naturalist at Oxbow Park.

“Park board members, council members, other community officials have been getting calls and complaints,” said Spaeth

Deer in Rochester don’t have a natural predator like they would in the wild, and a healthy doe can produce up to FOUR offspring each year.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the rising deer population can cause more car accidents, damage property and could also spread tick-borne illnesses.

Deer can also spread diseases amongst themselves, such as chronic wasting disease, at a higher rate when they’re larger in numbers.

“When you’re getting them in cities, you’re gonna be having more car wrecks, and then when you group them up together, that’s how you’re gonna get the CWD, the chronic wasting disease,” said Ryks. “Because they’re eating the same food, they’re in close quarters.”

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