2023 Deer Management registration is now closed.
The Deer Management archery program was developed to cull the herd of urban deer in Owatonna. Archers could hunt in one of eleven wooded parks. A total of 34 permits are available (17 each season). This year’s program runs from October 22 to December 17 in Cashman Park, Hamman Park, Kaplan’s Woods, Kaplan’s Woods Parkway, Kriesel Park, Leo Rudolph Park, Manthey Park, Maple Creek Park, Mineral Springs Park, Nass Woods Park and North Straight River Parkway.
The associated parks remain open to the public during this time. For informational purposes, maps of hunter locations can be found at the main entrance to each park and online at Owatonna.gov. Additional signage alerting the public to the activity in the park is posted at each entrance to each park in English, Spanish and Somali.
All participants must hold a valid hunting license, follow all DNR rules and local requirements and pass a proficiency test. Park staff selects the locations for the elevated stands based on deer movement patterns and proximity to main trails and park boundaries. Participants must communicate weekly with park staff and whenever a deer is taken.
Each year the hunt is approved by the DNR at a state level. Additionally, City Council approves an exception to Chapter 133 of the City Code. Local DNR officials recommend continuing the program based on robust numbers in the vicinity and population modeling from the Wildlife Research Unit suggests deer populations in the area continue to grow and numbers are likely above goal.
Managing urban deer not only stabilizes the population, but importantly, it helps to keep deer from becoming too habituated to people. It is important to continue efforts to help keep numbers in a socially acceptable range to most citizens, mitigate deer grazing and browsing impacts to park vegetation, impacts to peoples’ yards and gardens, and reduce deer/vehicle collisions.
The DNR views controlled archery hunts “as a safe means to help manage deer numbers toward a goal of avoiding greater conflicts with deer that can arise due to deer damage to property and natural habitats or disease concerns.”
A reminder for residents near wooded areas of City Ordinance 90.47 and 90.62 that no person shall feed or allow the feeding of wild animals as defined in 90.61 within the city.
A reminder for pets and owners using parks and trails, City Ordinance 90.01 requires any animal in a public park shall only be deemed to be under control when such animal is attached to a leash held by the owner or the owner’s agent.