Rules released on upcoming November deer hunt at Nature Center

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2003

It's only mid-summer, but deer hunters are already anticipating a special one-of-a-kind event that could help wildlife and their habitat.

The rules of engagement for the Nov. 19 through 26 hunt at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center are being disseminated.

Larry Dolphin, naturalist and executive director at the Nature Center, said there are four time periods during the eight-day hunt. The hunters will be chosen by a lottery system.

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"We hope the hunters will take a mature doe and not a young fawn that could look like a doe," Dolphin said. "That's the purpose of the hunt, to reduce the population by taking does. There's really no other way to do that."

The deer harvest at the 278-acre Nature Center received the approval of Austin city officials as a last resort action to combat the problem.

According to Dolphin, the deer population has been growing unabated through the years until the deer have been devouring young saplings and threatening the Nature Center's reforestation efforts.

Dolphin, the naturalist, oversees a popular Austin attraction where all things, including creatures large and small, are protected.

There is no taking of flowers from the Nature Center and when residents find a bird or small animal that has been injured, they deliver it to the Nature Center for care and treatment.

The white-tailed deer have been a popular attraction to walkers. now they have become the bane of those who want to see the Nature Center regenerate itself.

So sensitive to the November deer harvest at the Nature Center is Dolphin that he will include a personal essay of his thoughts in the next edition of the Nature Center's newspaper.

Until then, Dolphin has the responsibility of organizing the hunt for the city of Austin.

Event is for bow hunters only

As Dolphin explained the November taking of deer, hunters must be archery-licensed and all state game laws apply.

A $10 administrative fee will be charged to each hunter selected by the lottery system to take one antler-less deer during the period of Nov. 19-26.

Proficiency trials for potential hunters will be held Aug. 20 and 28 and Sept. 3 at the Cedar River Archery Club. The Minnesota Bowhunters Association will assist in the trials.

All applications must be received by Sept. 8 and the hunters chosen by lottery drawing will be notified Sept. 10. All hunters selected will be required to attend hunter orientation meetings Sept. 11 or Nov. 6.

The chosen hunters will be required to remain in their chosen designated areas or stands for the six-hour period they will be allowed to hunt deer during the four designated periods.

Also Dolphin advised, deer harvested must be checked in at the Nature Center offices and any field dressing must take place at least 30 feet away from walking paths and trails.

Deer hunting stands, ladder stands and tree steps will be allowed.

Dolphin reminded the Nature Center will be closed to all hikers during the Nov. 19-26 period, but he interpretive center and Ruby Rupner Auditorium will be open to the public.

An informational meeting for all adjacent landowners and the public will be held 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in Ruby Rupner Auditorium.

For more information, call Dolphin at the Nature Center 437-7519.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at