MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Deer hunting season is far from over for some cities across the metro.
In Eden Prairie, controlled hunts are taking place now through March.
The city is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce the deer population.
“When we first moved in, we had a family of fox back there, we’ve had woodchuck,” said resident Andre Caron.
Animals of all kinds have made their presence felt in Caron’s back yard over the years, but none have shown up more than the local deer population.
“Saw three this morning just like about a half hour ago. It seems like it’s kind of up this year. More activity than I’ve seen in the last few years,” Caron said.
The city of Eden Prairie has also noticed, and controlled hunts to maintain the herd are being planned.
“We did see a spike in 2016 over 2015,” said Matt Bourne, Parks and Natural Resources manager.
Without an ordinance to keep homeowners from feeding the deer, Bourne says it does not take much for the population to take off.
“There is a lot more over-population when you see artificial feeding … in those sites,” Bourne said.
That is why Bourne says the hunts are necessary. Two-man hunting teams are sent out at night in wooded areas, when deer are on the move and people are not. Deer shot in the woods can actually help drivers on the roads.
Since Eden Prairie began the program 20 years ago, the number of deer-vehicle collisions has dropped from as many as 280 a year to about 30.
“They say 20 to 25 deer per square mile of active habitat, and we try and keep it close to those numbers,” Bourne said.
Other reasons for the hunts are for the general health of the deer herds, and to cut down on property and tree damage that comes from a large deer population.
Even though Eden Prairie is one of those rare cities that does not have an ordinance keeping you from feeding deer, Bourne says he does not encourage it.