The first special deer hunt conducted within the Grand Rapids city limits last fall resulted in 106 deer harvested, and no reports of trespass or conflicts with private landowners, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The number represents 7.5 deer harvested per square mile on the acres that were open to hunting within the city.
More than half of the harvest was by archery; most of the harvest took place in October and November. Unusually cold and snowy conditions likely hindered hunter participation in the later weeks of the season.
“A harvest of 106 deer in an area the size of the city hunt area is significant,” said Perry Loegering, Grand Rapids area DNR wildlife manager. “It will help bring the deer numbers down to a more desirable level and alleviate some of the issues associated with high numbers of urban deer.”
The hunt was requested by the city of Grand Rapids to help reduce the deer population within the city limits. A high deer population in Grand Rapids has led to deer/vehicle collisions, and complaints of excessive browsing on gardens, plants and shrubbery in residential yards.
Cities with ample green space and woodlots can support a surprising population of deer, according to information from the DNR. While deer can adapt to a more urban setting, their natural predators typically do not enter urban settings. If left unmanaged, or encouraged by supplemental feeding, deer populations can soar to undesirable levels.
Deer populations outside the city have been declining in recent years, which has resulted in a more restrictive hunting season in most surrounding permit areas.
“We have not yet decided if the city hunt will continue next year,” said Assistant Police Chief Steve Schaar. “We will be discussing the harvest results with our mayor and city council, and addressing any concerns from our residents to determine if the special hunt will continue next year.”