Nature Center hosts deer hunt

Published 7:51 am Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Jay C Hormel Nature Center is holding an archery deer hunt from Nov. 17 through Nov. 24 to limit the deer population and allow newly planted trees to grow.

Thirty-eight hunters signed up for the hunt, which was planned by Nature Center Director Larry Dolphin after a tornado uprooted some of the trees from the land in 2009.

A pair of dear come out in the open to feed at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Tuesday. --Eric Johnson/

Ideally, the Nature Center wanted 44 hunters to participate in the week-long hunt to cover the entire area. Members of the Nature Center speculate there may be 50 to 60 deer in the 507 acre area. This may be because the firearm season pushed deer into the area for refuge, according to Dave Wagner of the Nature Center.

Email newsletter signup

To limit the herd, the Nature Center has devised a schedule for the hunters for safety and efficiency. Four hunting periods will be held each day, in which 10 hunters will be allowed on the land. Each hunter will be assigned to a specific area.

Wagner said the hunters had to pass a proficiency test at the Cedar River Archery Club to hunt at the Nature Center. Hunters had to hit at least three of five shots from 20 yards on a target roughly the size of a pie plate.

“We want to effectively kill the deer, not wound them,” he said. “It also shows we have good hunters on our lands.”

But they don’t just want to limit the herd, they also want to study the age, sex and resilience of the deer as well. Hunters will show their deer to Nature Center workers before removing them from the land.

During the hunt, signs will be placed at the entrance, corners and trailheads of the facility to clearly indicate that visitors are not allowed in the woods. Anyone will still be allowed to enter the visitor center, however.

The last hunt the Nature Center hosted was in 2003. It only hosts a hunt if there is a legitimate reason to reduce the deer population. The deadline to sign up for this year’s hunt was Sept. 9, 2010; hunters will follow normal DNR laws while hunting.