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First-ever Blue Earth deer hunt a success

By Staff | Jan 26, 2020

There are 15 fewer deer running around Blue Earth because of the first-ever, in-the-city-limits deer hunt.

“We didn’t know what exactly to expect,” Blue Earth police officer Tharen Haugh told the City Council last Tuesday night during their work session before the regular meeting. “We had 10 deer stands, with two hunters per stand, so we expected 10 or less would be harvested. With 15, it can be called a success.”

All the deer were does. The hunt lasted for 109 days and hunters were in the stands for 429 hours. They had to clock in and out during the hunt.

“The biggest issue was the weather,” Haugh says. “There were times the hunting areas were flooded and the stands too hard to get to.”

Haugh had also asked the hunters to keep track of how many deer they saw during their time in the stands. That number was 13 bucks, 110 does and 74 fawns. Of course, Haugh said, it could be the same deer spotted over and over.

“We did learn a lot from doing it for the first year,” Haugh said. “If we are going to do it again, there are some things I would change, mainly in the application and qualification areas.”

He also would try and do a little more promotion of the hunt to try and get more interest from hunters and try and increase the number.

“I think we should send letters to this year’s hunters, go to sportsmans events, put in an ad the paper, things like that,” Haugh said. “Anything to help spread the word.”

As far as whether there will another hunt next year, Haugh told the council they have to make a decision by May, but would like it earlier if possible, in order to start promoting it.

“I would do it again,” he said. “I had 50 1/2 hours of time in doing it, most of that involving the testing process of the applicants.”

As far as the cost to the city, Haugh said it came to $2,537. The cost of targets for testing came to $512, he said, and they have enough targets left they should not need to reorder for this year.

“Overall, I was quite surprised with how well it went,” Haugh told the council members. “I mean, considering New Ulm has a much larger area for their hunt, and had 56 hunters, they just harvested 36 does. So our 15 deer looks pretty good.”