Associated Press, Published October 20 2013
St. John's Abbey Arboretum to allow in bow huntersCOLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — St. John's Abbey Arboretum is hoping to control a deer population that is destroying trees and plants by allowing in bow hunters starting next weekend.
According to the St. Cloud Times, 105 hunters will allowed out from Oct. 26 through Dec. 31 or until 55 deer are killed. It's the 12th since hunting was allowed in the 1990s. The hunt will be limited to about 1,560 acres and will be the first archery hunt.
Officials hope to reduce the population to nine per acre, instead of 15 per acre.
Tom Kroll, land manager and arboretum director, said he hopes to eventually establish 400 red oaks per acre that are chest-height or taller but the deer have been eating them.
Life Safety Director Shawn Vierzba said he also hopes for a drop in car-deer crashes on the St. John's University entrance road.
The rules require hunting parties to shoot three antlerless deer before taking a buck. The abbey will keep track of those numbers.
One of the hunters will be Joe Lahr, 54, of Sartell. In early October, he set up his stand between two swamps not too far from the football field.
“I've never seen so many large, mature oaks. You just don't see those everywhere because they've either been logged off or cleared,” Lahr said. “It's a pretty neat privilege to be involved in the hunt.”
The arboretum chose the archery hunt because it's easier than running a firearms hunt. A firearms hunt would have had to be scheduled around football games, which can draw 10,000 people. Bow hunters require a much smaller range — only about 25 yards, and they are quieter and camouflaged.