Clarifying the upcoming city deer hunt

Published 10:22 am Saturday, September 7, 2019

By Kevin D. Nelson

Austin Parks and Recreation

A bit of clarification may be needed regarding the city archery deer hunt, which will begin on Oct. 23. There have already been five locations within the city which were designated for hunting (by those who pass the qualifying accuracy shoot, apply, and are selected [lottery drawn] to be on the specified properties). Those locations are as follows: Bustad Park, Todd Park, Cresthaven (along Turtle Creek in the public greenspace), the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, and south of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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The hunt committee sought to add two additional parcels to this hunt, those being the treed area at the bottom of Knob Hill and a private property, that of Stiver’s Nursery. The owner of Stiver’s sought out the assistance of the city and archery deer hunters to reduce the number of deer, which are frequently eating bark of his tree stock at the nursery.

The council has given preliminary approval for adding Stiver’s, as the property will allow for the necessary set-backs of 100 feet from the nearest trail (street, bike path, etc.) and that of 150 feet from the nearest inhabited structure. Stiver’s also has high deer traffic.

However, the council was reluctant to provide approval for the base of Knob Hill, citing regular use of the property by area residents. One of the stipulations which would have been implemented for (bow and arrow) hunting that particular parcel is that the season would be done by the first accumulating snowfall needed to sledding. The council still opted to not to give approval to the Knob Hill parcel and to re-visit the possibility next year.

The bow hunters in the city hunt are not numerous. This year, 36 would-be hunters qualified in the shoot, which was held Aug. 24-25 at Cedar River Archery Club. A passing/qualifying score meant shooting five of six arrows within a six-inch circle on a target from a distance of 20 yards. It also required that they shoot these arrows from an elevated stand, which simulates being in a deer stand.

Of the 36 who qualified, 31 names will be drawn, as that is the reasonable number of stands and hunters which can be placed within these six parcels of land. The DNR hunt regulations allow for placement of up to 60 hunters in the Austin hunt, but the hunt committee isn’t promoting the hunt for sport (to get the maximum number of hunters in the woods), but rather for the purpose of reducing the deer herd within the city. If too many hunters were added, the net effect may likely be just chasing the deer elsewhere, only for them to return once the season ended. Thus, we have a set number, one which is far less than what the DNR would allow.

We believe the vast majority of archery deer hunters to be ethical hunters, and all of the approved city hunters are given strict rules and codes of conduct to follow. One of these rules is “earn a buck.” In other words, hunters must harvest, tag, and report one antlerless deer prior to harvesting an antlered deer. The past two city archery deer hunt seasons combined have harvested just over 100 deer within the city.

Learn to Play Hockey

The next session of Learn to Play Hockey will run four Mondays, 5:30-6:15 p.m., Sept. 23 through Nov. 14, 5:30-6:15 PM at Riverside Arena for ages 3 to 8.

The cost is $25, and you may register online on our city website e at Click on “City Departments;” click on “online registration.”   From there, click on the “Registration” tab and then click on “Youth,” and the programs will be listed.

Covering graffiti

Several public areas which received (spray paint) “tagging” over the past several years will be addressed in the coming weeks. These include the skateboard park, the bike trail tunnel under Oakland Avenue, the back of Paramount Theater, and a portion of the back side of the pool building. Changes will include painted artistic themes and messages.

Splash pad

The splash pad closed for the season on Sept. 3. Thank you for your patronage over the past several months!

Did you know?

According to home buyers, trails are ranked No. 2 in importance as a community amenity (out of 18 choices) (National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Buyers).


Riverside Arena public skate times:

  • Sunday: 2:45-4:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 15: 2:45-4:15 p.m.


  • Sunday: 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Monday: 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Sept. 15:1-2:30 p.m.

Times are added as different opportunities arise, so check our Facebook page regularly.

Seasonal work

We have a number of seasonal positions available including recreation assistant, recreation instructor, arena supervisor, park maintenance, adult volleyball ref, and warming house attendant. Some of these require a considerable amount of related knowledge and/or skill, while others will require some training, reliability, and solid work ethic. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact the Parks, Rec, and Forestry office at 433-1881.

Enjoy these remaining warm days and the approaching changing leaf colors.