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No city deer hunt in BE

By Staff | Apr 22, 2018

Deer and dogs again.

The Blue Earth City Council took time to once again discuss these two animal issues at their meeting last Monday night.

For the fourth meeting in a row the council spent time discussing what to do about the number of deer roaming around the city.

This time the discussion was held during the work session, and some of the talk became loud and heated.

City administrator Tim Ibisch and police chief Tom Fletcher presented information on how and where a public deer hunt could be held in the city limits.

The report identified some places in the city where it could be held, such as near Steinberg Park, the city brush site, behind the fairgrounds and near the sewage treatment plant. Hunters would need a special city permit and would use only bows and arrows.

The operation would be similar to what New Ulm does, Fletcher said. The city would need to hire someone to operate the hunt.

“In New Ulm they pay one person $2,500 to run the hunt, and another $500 to someone who helps him,” Fletcher said. “There is quite a bit of work involved with this. In New Ulm they put a ton of work into doing this. And they have a lot of rules that need to be followed.”

Fletcher said he does have some safety concerns about the project, but said it could be done.

Councilman John Huisman said he favored it.

“I would like to see us try it,” he told the council. “They have been doing it for 20 years in New Ulm, and if it is done consistently, it works and reduces the deer problem. I can’t really see a downside.”

However councilman Glenn Gaylord was strongly opposed to a city deer hunt.

“This will cause more problems than it will do any good,” Gaylord said. “This is just too much work for what we would get out of it.”

Mayor Rick Scholtes said he felt that it was either do this city deer hunt or else they would do nothing, because there was nothing else to do.

“Not true,” Gaylord said. “That is just not true. There are a lot of other things we can do. We can put pressure on the DNR to issue more deer permits in this area, for one thing.”

Gaylord said the deer issue is not a large problem and suggested residents use deer spray and deer pellets to keep deer out of yards.

“And I favor a feeding ban if we want to do that,” Gaylord added. “I don’t think that will help much but it can’t hurt. But a public hunt is just not the way to go.”

The councilman also cited safety concerns such as arrows flying around. He also said he was totally against allowing hunting in Steinberg Park.

“If you kill a few deer, more will come,” Gaylord said. “It just won’t work.”

But Huisman reiterated that they should try the hunt and told Gaylord he was just speculating as to whether it would work or not.

“I have been deer hunting my whole life,” Gaylord said. “The last thing we want is someone to get hurt or have a wounded deer in town.”

Huisman asked Fletcher if there would be a problem finding someone to run the city deer hunt.

“I am sure we could find someone, and I could do some of the administrative work,” Fletcher said. “Logistically it is sure possible to do.”

However, after the work session and later in the regular council meeting, Huisman made a motion to have a city deer hunt this coming fall and to hire someone to run it.

The motion failed due to a lack of a second.

Dog problem

The council also revisited the issue of dogs running loose around town, and considered some changes to both the ordinance and the fee schedule.

Administrator Ibisch said there have been 21 dog owners who have come in to register their dogs since April 2, and he credited stories in local newspapers as a big reason why.

Mayor Scholtes said perhaps it would be better if the fee for registering a pet was eliminated and was free.

“The $5 fee does not seem to be a big deal,” Ibisch said. “And it helps us make sure animals have their license, have their shots, and can be identified if they are found. It also gives us an opportunity to explain the ordinance to the pet owners.”

Several council members voiced the idea that the first time a pet is licensed it is a $5 fee, but is free after that. The pet owner would still have to come in for a license, to make sure shots are up to date, but there would be no additional fee.

The council also discussed raising some fines if an animal does not have a license, is found running loose or is outside without a leash. They also looked at increasing the fine by $50 each time an infraction happens.

The council instructed staff to put together a possible new fee schedule.

Councilman Huisman said one thing they need to do is seriously look at a dog park in town, and Ibisch responded that a committee as looking at two possible sites at this time.