Archery deer hunts will take place in only one Anoka County regional park this fall.
That’s at Bunker Hills Regional Park where the deer population density exceeds the county’s management goal.
The Anoka County Board approved three weekends for hunting – Oct. 26-28, Nov. 16-18 and Dec. 7-9 with a total of 39 permits issued, 13 for each session.
No hunts will take place at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park or Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park, where the deer population is at a sustainable level, according to Jeff Perry, county parks and recreation director.
Deer population counts in all three parks took place during aerial surveys in February when snow was on the ground, Perry said.
They revealed a density of 56 deer per square mile in Bunker Hills Regional Park, 18.6 per square mile in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park and 5.8 per square mile in Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park, he said.
“The management goal of Anoka County is to sustain a deer population density of 15 to 20 deer per square mile,” Perry said.
After more than 20 years of archery deer hunts at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park, there has been no hunt for three years, because there is now a sustainable level of deer in the park, according to Perry.
Deer hunts at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park have taken place for several years – in 2017, 10 deer were harvested – but the deer population density is now within the threshold, so no hunt is planned this year.
The 2017 hunt at Bunker Hills Regional Park culled 19 deer, which Perry said was “very successful.”
But he said the habitat in Bunker Hills’ 1,600 acres provides a refuge not only for the deer in the park, but also for those deer that go to the park from the surrounding area.
“The deer population has remained fairly consistent over the years,” Perry said.
Archery deer hunting is allowed at Cedar Creek and Columbus Lake conservation areas during the legal hunting season with no permits required.