Of the 10 speakers, only one opposed the continuation of the 15-year-old program that the Fargo City Commission plans to dismantle. A final vote is possible at the meeting next Monday.

Acting Police Captain Chris Helmick, who led the meeting, said he would take the comments, as well as the emails he received, as his department prepares a final report for the commissioners.

Police concerns, he said, are public safety with possible stray arrows hitting the growing number of people using the trails while walking or cycling. The area of ​​concern stretches for approximately 470 acres along the Red River, where hunting is permitted from the far north of Fargo to the far south from September 1 to January 31.

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While there have been few complaints or unwanted incidents, Helmick said the chances of an incident are increasing.

The city’s population growth increased from 90,000 in 2006, when the program began, to 125,000.

Helmick also said it takes around 40 to 80 hours of police time per year to administer the program. At a cost of up to about $ 4,000, resources could be put to better use, according to Helmick. There have been reports, however, that the park district may want to resume the program.

Hunters who spoke described the program as a success and urged its continuation.

Individuals pointed to statistics showing that over the 15 years of the program, there have been no accidents and interactions with residents often occur in the booths, receiving only positive feedback.

“We use the utmost care and judgment,” said Nick Ackerman. “My friends and I have not had any negative interactions” with the other residents.

Brent Mitchell added that he had had positive conversations with families, dog lovers and cyclists during the hunt and that people should know that “we are not the bogeyman sitting in the tree. We are. people”.

Mitchell added that what surprised him was the number of people he spoke with who are “overwhelmingly in favor” of continuing the program.

As for public safety, Paul Speral said the track record of hunters so far is “perfect”.

He stressed that all hunters should stand in the trees so that when arrows are shot they descend to prevent navigation in the air.

Helmick said there were 140 unaccounted arrows in the program, but Michael Gravalin said he used what is known as night notches or light tips at the end of arrows which can be more easily found and which could be added as a requirement.

Archery hunters also argued in the deer-only program with 352 catches that the number is rather high over the 15-year-olds.

This compared to what the hunters said was an earlier comment at a previous municipal commission meeting by Police Chief David Zibolski, that the harvest was rather small with minimal effect on the herd in Fargo.

Ackerman added that the success rate of the 45 hunters with licensed licenses each year is higher in Fargo, a range of 42% to 49%, compared to the number of around 39% statewide. A police report collected from surveys of hunters showed an even higher rate of 56% in at least a year.

Brian Zastoupil stressed that the program is about the management and not the eradication of the deer herd.

“I think the number 352 is very important,” Zastoupil said, adding that the multiplier effect would increase that number.

Police investigation indicated that hunters reported seeing as many as 1,300 deer, the number rising from 250 in the early years to an average of 1,000.

Hunters also suggested increasing the number of permits, while emphasizing the difficulty of getting one before disappearing.

Renee Quadt, who feeds their family with the two or more deer they harvest, said sometimes she and her husband didn’t get a state rifle license and had to depend on the city’s permit. She added that there are hunters who get the $ 30 municipal license each year and don’t end up hunting.

Rob Mounts also suggested expanding the hunting limits, citing several other areas, mainly in the far north of Fargo, where the park district and city-owned land could be used. The mounts also favored an increase in the number of hunters.

In the only negative comment to the hearing, Christopher Coen said bow hunting was the “cruelest way” to kill an animal and in some cases only injures the animal.

The police report said that over the past 15 years there had been reports of 45 deer affected but not recovered. Coen favored a sniper program to kill more deer if the city wanted to better manage its herd. Coen added that deer are “prolific” and often bounce directly into areas along the river after the hunting season.

He doubted that bow hunting would have much effect on herd management.

The wild turkey hunt was added in 2013 and hunters said they have collected only nine birds since.

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