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BE Council hears 2020 deer hunt report

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Jan 10, 2021

Part of the agenda at last Monday’s Blue Earth City Council meeting was to swear in the returning council members and mayor, all of whom were reelected in this past November’s election. Pictured standing, left to right, are council members Dan Warner and Glenn Gaylord, mayor Rick Scholtes, city attorney David Frundt and council member John Huisman. Seated left to right are council member Wendy Cole, office specialist Tammy Davis, city administrator Mary Kennedy and council members Russ Erichsrud and Marty Cassem.

While the numbers were down from the previous year, the in-the-city-limits deer hunt in Blue Earth was deemed another success.

Blue Earth police officer Tharen Hough, who is in charge of the hunt, gave a wrap up of the season to the Blue Earth City Council during their work session before last Monday night’s regular meeting.

Officer Haugh reported that there were 11 hunters this year and they harvested nine does and one fawn during the season.

“There were fewer hunters than last year, and also there were six fewer days in the hunting season,” Haugh told the council. “But we were still happy with the results.”

Haugh explained it was also two vastly different hunting seasons, 2020 and the first time it was held in 2019.

“In 2019 the hunters couldn’t always get out because there was so much water,” he says. “This year was completely different, with practically no water.”

In 2019 the difficulty was the water, but this past year of 2020 it was the nice weather. The hunters could see a lot of deer, but they were too far away.

The hunters logged 168 hours in the deer stands. They reported sighting eight bucks, 82 does and 89 fawns for a total of 179.

The hunters each pay a $15 application fee and then a $30 participation fee.

Haugh said he doesn’t believe the fee had anything to do with the lower number of hunters this year.

“The first year we had a lot of free publicity with the coverage of the first-ever hunt here, and that probably helped us more than we thought,” Haugh says. “This past year we only had it on Facebook and the DNR website.”

He suggested that in 2021 they do some advertising locally in the newspaper and on the radio, if the goal is to keep the number of hunters in the 20 range. The ads would need to start in June and July, he added, because they start the application and qualification tests in August, and the season begins in September.

“Overall, everything went well,” Haugh said. “I am not aware of any problems. We had one question about the location of a deer stand, but I reached out to the landowner and it was not a problem.”

One advantage to having half the number of hunters in 2020 was the program was easier to manage, Haugh said.

“Some of the guys, who are retired, logged a ton of hours in the stands,” he explained. “One guy got both his deer allowed for this hunt, then also got a third one on his regular license.”

The other item on the work session agenda was a report on the so-called ‘fall sweep’ by the police department for junk cars or old appliances in yards.

Police chief Tom Fletcher reported there were 29 notices of violations sent out in early November.

“By Nov. 29, all of them were in compliance, except for two, with another one getting an extension of time to get in compliance,” Fletcher said. “The vast majority are junk cars and some hazardous appliances.”

Councilman John Huisman requested a list of the names and addresses of the offenders be sent out to the council members, but mayor Rick Scholtes and city attorney David Frundt disagreed.

“If the list is sent out to all of you it is then public and would be posted on the website,” Frundt said. “Although it is arguably public record, someone would have to request it for a copy.”

Mayor Scholtes said a solution would be for any council members who wish to see the list could stop at Fletcher’s office and take a look at it.