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City approves deer hunt

A pilot program allowing a select group of bow hunters to thin the city's deer herd was approved Monday night on a 5-1 vote by the City Council.

By the same 5-1 margin, the council also amended the Municipal Code to allow "controlled archery-only deer hunts" in the city, and to allow the baiting of deer for the hunt.

The ordinance change was needed to make the controlled hunt legal.

The hunt will be conducted free of charge by River Valley Deer Management LLC, a group of experienced bow hunters led by Hudson businessman and North Hudson resident Lon Feia.

River Valley Deer Management conducted a similar hunt last fall in North Hudson that was deemed a success by village officials.

Feia told the city's Park Board that his group expects to kill 50 to 70 deer during the hunt, which will take place during the regular Wisconsin deer bow season next fall and winter.

Mayor Dean Knudson said he would appoint an ad hoc committee of citizens and city officials to recommend areas where the hunt will take place.

Knudson had said previously that there are city-owned properties where the hunt could occur out of the sight of the general public.

The city's Park Board reportedly is open to allowing the hunting in at least some of the city's parks.

Alderperson Randy Morrissette II voted against the program and the ordinance change.

He also asked to be appointed to the committee that will decide where the hunt will take place.

"I do want to be involved in this because I object to it, and so do my neighbors," Morrissette said.

He said he wanted Birkmose, Anderson and Webster parks - all located in District 1 that he represents - excluded from the hunt.

Knudson noted that the parks are city parks - not District 1 parks.

Scot O'Malley was the most vocal alderperson in support of the controlled hunt.

"They're nothing but a public nuisance," O'Malley said of the deer living in the city.

He jokingly referred to the deer as "rats with hooves."

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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