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City of Austin archery deer hunt upcoming

The season is approaching for which local archers/bow hunters are already honing their skills, ensuring accuracy when they release a bowstring and propelling an arrow at a target in preparation for another city hunt.

The purpose is ensuring better health of the area deer herd, reducing road kills of the same and the related vehicle damage and reducing damage to gardens and trees.

The added bonus is the opportunity to put venison on the table for themselves or area food shelves.

This will be the fourth consecutive season for which the city has offered a deer management archery hunt, one which is authorized and approved by both the MNDNR and Austin City Council. Hunters are required to participate in a qualifying shoot/proficiency test, one which requires placement of five out of six arrows within a six-inch circle on a target which is located 20 yards away from the archer when she/he releases the arrows. The archers are also required to shoot from an elevated stand, one which simulates an elevation/stand from which they will be required to shoot throughout the city hunt.

Why an elevated stand? The reasoning is really multifaceted, but for all intents and purposes for within the city limits, it changes the trajectory of a launched arrow to a downward direction from the stand, as the target (deer), in theory, will be lower than the hunter, thus making for a lesser distance that arrows can travel. So, ground blinds, somewhat like camouflage tents with openings on all sides, are not allowed in the city hunt as they are not elevated.

Outside of the city limits, ground blinds are permitted, but elevating the hunter has other advantages as well, such as better view of the surrounding habitat and approaching game, perhaps getting above the regular line of sight of deer (as they wouldn’t expect a predator to be located above them in their natural surroundings), and possible disruption of the air currents on the ground which might carry the scent of the hunters to the highly sensitive noses of these big-game animals.

What else do would-be hunters need to do?

They must also submit proof of their participation in and passing of the Advanced Bowhunter Education course, along with an application fee of $20. Then, they will be invited to an evening drawing event in September, where names will be randomly drawn from the list of qualifying participants. If any of these would-be hunters harvested and tagged at least two does in Austin’s City Hunt the previous year, their names will be placed in the first priority round drawing to give them a first chance at what might be considered some of the parcels with better opportunities to see and take deer.

Where might these hunters be located during the season?

There are a number of areas, including the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, Todd Park, Bustad Park area (public lands only), Cresthaven Addition (public parcel behind residences along Turtle Creek), Wastewater Treatment Plant (south of), and the newest, an approximate 300-acre parcel north of I-90 and fairly adjacent to the border of Todd Park’s western and southwestern edge.

It is important to note that access to this sizable parcel for the City’s Archery Deer Hunt is being granted as a favor to the city in its efforts to manage the deer population. Cumulatively, over 160 deer have been harvested within the city limits over the past three seasons, and anyone who has regularly driven along this stretch of road toward, along, and north of Todd Park has likely witnessed many deer along Eighth Street Northeast, Eighth Drive Northeast and 11th Street Northeast, which borders this parcel.

Those hunters who are granted access will be issued an identifiable arm band which must be visibly worn on the outside of their hunting clothing at all times whilst they are on the property (for the purposes of hunting and/or placement/retrieval of hunting stands). It should be noted that all other access to this property, other than on the narrow easements of the paved walking/biking trail and the marked Schindler’s Way Mountain Bike Trail, is considered trespassing.

As a community, we’re grateful for the easements and access and hope the public will continue to honor and abide by the intent of it.

E-mail notifications of the City Archery Deer Hunt approaching proficiency test dates were recently sent out to all who participated in the hunt last year and also to those who expressed interest to us within the past year. Area residents are encouraged to watch for related information on social media platforms, or contact our office if they’d like it e-mailed to them.