Bow hunting happening in public parks

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(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Parks and Recreation reached out to the Rochester Archery Club for help controlling the rising deer population. The pilot program they created means this is the first year that bow hunters can hunt on public property.

There are eleven parks in the city bow hunters can hunt at.

  • Bear Creek Park
  • Essex Park
  • Foster Arend Park
  • Gamehaven Park
  • Hadley Creek Golf Course
  • Indian Heights Park
  • McQuillan Park
  • Northern Heights Park
  • Willow Creek Reservoir 
  • South Zumbro Trail natural areas 16th Street SW to Mayowood Road
  • North Zumbro natural areas from Recreation Center to 37th Street NW

“Not only do they like to hunt, but they know they’re trying to help the city deal with a problem, per se,” said Terry Spaeth, who has been in the archery club for 17 years.

Rochester Parks and Recreation says the problem, the rising deer population, is making the city less safe.

“We started this program based on a lot of resident complaints. It’s a city wide problem with traffic accidents and car damage,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Paul Widman.

There were more than 200 car crashes involving deer in 2021, according to the city. Deer can also damage property and spread Lyme Disease.

“Safety was paramount concern of everybody involved,” Spaeth said.

“Honestly in most of the parks most people don’t even know they’re there because they’re off away from the activity areas,” Widman added.

Not just anyone can hunt in these parks. There are 32 spots in the program, and bow hunters had to apply for a permit through the city. Hunters took a training course and passed a proficiency test.

“It’s been a great way to team up to address the issue,” Widman said.

Bow hunting season goes until mid-December.