Time to liberalize metro deer hunting ordinances
Minnesota’s deer hunting permit area map reveals the conservative nature of state deer management these days – with one glaring exception: the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
With most of Minnesota in either the lottery or managed designation, it’s amazing that there aren’t more opportunities for deer hunting within the urban core.
Yes, there are special hunts on many government-owned parcels of land across the metro. The DNR website and Metro Bowhunters Resource Base provide listings of many of those opportunities. But most of the metro is privately owned, and shooting ordinances make deer hunting challenging.
One of the first stories I wrote for Outdoor News took place in the late 1990s when the city of Savage changed their weapons discharge ordinances. Large numbers of hunters showed up to protest the city council’s actions that would effectively “zone out” hunting within the city limits.
A lot of cities have done this, either intentionally or unintentionally, and it’s made for an explosion in the metro deer population. That’s because cities have denied the right to hunt to thousands of residents.
Common sense should prevail. If a group of landowners gives permission to a hunter, (preferably one of their fellow landowners), to harvest deer on their collective property, municipalities should allow it.
City create discharge ordinances not to ban hunting, but to ensure everybody’s safety. But should citizens have the right to grant permission to a responsible hunter who agrees to follow tight safety protocol?
A hunter in an elevated stand can shoot a bow without much danger of an errant arrow. If a bowhunter wants to hunt, and all of his or her neighbors grant permission, shouldn’t it be OK?
A small handful of cities have allowed for this exception within their discharge ordinances and that’s good. It’s solid deer management, a common sense approach to weapons discharge ordinances, and good local governance.
Instead of paying “sharpshooters” or hosting special hunts, more municipalities should simply allow their taxpaying residents to hunt on their own land, with permission from their neighbors.
Compliments to the city of Ramsey, the city I live in, for taking this approach the past few years. I only recently learned about it and have taken the municipality up on the opportunity, thanks to my neighbors for their support.
For me it’s a dream come true. Owning a small parcel of land, keeping some of it wooded, and being able to wake up and walk out into my deer stand. I’m sure my hunting will not impact the deer population very much, even if I took advantage of the metro’s near unlimited harvest opportunity.
It just makes sense. A small group of residents, with approval and verification from the local police, decided to create a “special hunt,” and it cost the city very little. But it allowed this archer the opportunity to realize the dream of hunting his own land, and share some meat with neighbors (I haven’t taken one yet but when I do there’ll be venison for all!)
As the the view from Hustvedt’s treestand reveals, the metro area contains ample white-tailed deer habitat.