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Ryan Bakken, Forum News Service, Published February 14 2013

Overrun with deer, northwestern Minn. town to have its own hunting season

HALLOCK, Minn. - Hallock, a town of 960 in northwestern Minnesota, will have its own deer hunting season this fall.

City fathers recently voted to hold a bow-hunting season in an effort to reduce the population of deer inside the city. City staff and City Council members are working on the details, with the state requiring a plan to be in place before May.

“We might have 100 to 150 deer in town,” City Clerk Hank Noel said. “They’re not just in the park or near the (Two Rivers River).

“I see deer tracks in my yard and I live dead center in town. Drivers have hit deer on Highway 75, which runs through the middle of town.”

According to Hallock Police Chief Mike Docken, some deer are semi-tame.

“They run down the streets like cows,” he said. “They’ll get on the berm and then turn around and look at you like they’re saying ‘We know you’re not coming onto the yard after us.’

“I haven’t had anybody yet tell me that a hunt is the wrong thing to do.”

Noel and Docken said the impetus for the urban deer season has been residents’ complaints about damage the whitetails are doing to vegetable and flower gardens and evergreen bushes.

Docken said he is consulting with Warroad and Two Harbors, other northern Minnesota towns that have held bow hunts within city limits.

Hunting in Hallock will require a bow license issued by the Department of Natural Resource and a permit issued by the city, Noel said. The cost of the permit and the area open for hunting are among the decisions the council needs to make before May, he said.

“We likely will limit hunting to areas near the river that are on public land,” Noel said. “Hunting on private land will require owner permission. We also need to decide how many permits we’ll issue.”

He said Hallock’s archery hunt likely will start in September and last about six weeks, ending before the firearms season.