Bow hunting will be held at three Anoka County parks

Bow hunting permits will be issued this fall by the Anoka County Parks Department to cull the deer herds in three county regional parks.

The Anoka County Board June 11, acting on the recommendation of its Parks and Recreation Committee, approved the 2013 deer management program.

The regional parks affected are Bunker Hills, Rice Creek Chain of Lakes and Mississippi West.

While Bunker Hills and Rice Creek have been included in county’s annual deer management program for several years, Mississippi West in Ramsey is new this year, according to Jeff Perry, county park planning and resources manager.

But Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, for which bow hunting permits have been issued for the past several years, is not part of the program this year.

“The deer herd there is at a sustainable level,” Perry said.

The county conducts an aerial survey to check on the deer herd populations in its parks every February, he said.

“The was plenty of snow on the ground this winter to get an accurate count,” Perry said.

At Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, the survey found the deer herd to be at a sustainable eight per square mile, he said.

“I think that can be largely attributed to the effectiveness of our management program,” Perry said.

According to Perry, the management goal of the parks department is to sustain a deer population of 15 to 20 deer per square mile in each of the parks.

But in Bunker Hills Regional Park, the density is more than 54 deer per square mile; at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park, it’s greater than 27 deer per square mile; and in Mississippi West Regional Park, the deer population has been determined to be more than 55 deer per square mile.

The cull at Bunker Hills Regional Park will be in the 30 to 40 range, with up to 33 permits issued for the archery hunts. The hunts will be spread over three weekends, Friday through Sunday, this fall with 11 permits issued for each, according to Perry. The dates are Oct. 25 to 27, Nov. 15 to 17 and Dec. 6 to 8.

At Rice Creek, the goal will be to harvest between 10 and 20 deer with up to 100 permits issued for the hunts, which will take place twice this fall, according to Perry. The first hunt is scheduled for Oct. 19 to Nov. 10 and the second from Nov. 11 through Dec. 31. Fifty permits will be issued for each hunt.

The deer herd at Mississippi West Regional Park is found on Cloquet Island, which is located in the Mississippi River adjacent to the park, Perry said. With a goal of harvesting up to 25 deer and only six permits being issued, the season will last from Oct. 5 through Dec. 31, he said. “Hunters will get to the island by boat,” Perry said.

The regional parks at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes at 3,500 acres and Bunker Hills at 1,600 acres both have large land areas with excellent habitat for deer herds, and so does Cloquet Island, which covers 60 acres, Perry said.

The hunts will be limited to designated areas in all three parks.

According to Perry, hunters can apply for bow hunting permits for the hunts in all three regional parks, but they will only get a permit for one of the parks.

“We always have a lot more applications than permits available,” Perry said.

To be eligible, applicants must have a state deer hunting license.

And once the permits have been issued, hunters are required to attend an orientation session put on by the county parks department in September.

People can apply for the deer hunting permits now through Aug. 23 by going to the parks department website at www.anokacountyparks.com and downloading the registration form.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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