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BE votes to tackle deer issue

By Staff | Aug 12, 2018

Paula Nuessmeier has been watching these three young deer in her backyard at 220 W. Seventh Street all summer. They are frequent visitors, she says, and seem to not be bothered whether it is morning, noon, or night, or whether there are any people around or not. They seem quite tame and at ease, she adds.

The Blue Earth City Council had spent time at past meetings discussing the ongoing problem with deer roaming around the city.

While it had not been discussed at the last several meetings, it was once again on the agenda for last Monday night’s council meeting. And, this time the council decided to take action.

They voted 6-1 to both budget for an inside city limits deer hunt for the fall of 2019, and to form a city subcommittee composed of residents to study the situation further and eventually come with recommendations to the council.

The vote to proceed with both items was made during the regular meeting, however most of the council’s half hour work session before the regular meeting had also been devoted to the deer problem issue.

Councilman Russ Erichsrud said the problem with deer in town had been bad last winter, but now it has continued into the spring and summer with deer eating flower and vegetable plants right in people’s yards. Creating a citizen task force was one item listed in the council packet as a possible solution. And, council member John Huisman had previously proposed the special city deer hunt in the past.

Council member Wendy Cole said she thought forming a committee was a great idea.

“They can do the investigation of the deer issue and then come to us with a recommendation of what they think should be done about it,” Cole said.

In the end, the council decided it could be in the best interest of the city to try and do both have a deer hunt and form a citizen committee. However, the vote was just to budget to do the hunt in 2019, while the vote for actually conducting the hunt would come at a later date.

The deadline for the city to have a hunt this fall has already passed. In order to have one in the fall of 2019, the decision to do so needs to be done by May of next year.

Councilman Glenn Gaylord, who was the dissenting vote on the motion, said the best solution was not to have a city hunt, but instead put pressure on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to increase the number of deer hunting permits in the area.

“This problem lies with the DNR,” Gaylord said. “They are not managing the state’s deer herd properly. Why not have two permits issued to a person per year? They could solve this problem, but they just don’t want to.”

Gaylord attempted to amend the motion to split it into two votes, but his motion to amend it died for lack of a second.

“I am in favor of forming the committee, but not of the city hunt,” Gaylord said. “It would not solve the problem.”

Councilman Huisman had made a motion at a previous meeting to have an in the city deer hunt but it had died for lack of a second. This time around there was a second and it passed.

Council members expressed they felt the city could still also put pressure on the DNR to increase the number of permits in the Blue Earth area. But, several council members also expressed that they need to do something about the problem in any way they can.

The in the city limits deer hunt would be in the fall of 2019. The City Council would determine the number of permits to be issued, and hunters would need to register ahead of time. It would be for bow hunting only and in designated areas of the city only.