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Special hunt areas expanded

Red Wing City Council on Monday expanded the areas included in the city's special deer hunting program.

In addition to approving this year's program -- which pertains to bow hunting only -- the council voted unanimously to expand it to include the area between Featherstone Road and Neal Street west of Woodland Drive and an area south of Meadow Lane.

The program is designed to cut down on Red Wing's deer population. Many residents complain that deer are a nuisance. They say the animals ruin landscaping and gardens and damage property.

"City of Red Wing managed deer hunts have worked extremely well," said Mike Tenney, a Department of Natural Resources official who works with the city on the special hunt. "The hunt has been very safe, cost effective and has provided many hours of recreation."

City officials agree, noting the alternatives to a special hunt are considerably more expensive. A sharpshooter would cost the city an additional $300 per deer and a trapping system could be even more costly, according to a memorandum provided to the council.

Police Chief Tim Sletten said, "First and foremost we want to make sure this is done safely."

Hunters must be 150 feet from any inhabited structure or playground.

It is believed the city's deer population has decreased since the program was enacted, as deer related complaints have gone down. In the past two years the special hunt has harvested 126 deer.

The population control, however, remains necessary because the deer are "very prolific," according to the memorandum.

Last year the council approved a ban on feeding deer within city limits. Since then there have been three warnings given out and one citation for feeding deer.

Sletten said the two measures are a part of the same overall effort -- a 1-2 punch.