by Clark Schmitz
Many cities have concerns with growing deer populations within their city limits. High deer numbers result in damage to trees, gardens, flowers, conflicts with people and automobile / deer collisions. To control deer numbers, regulated archery hunts have gained popularity. The Ia. DNR has worked with many Ia. cities in putting together a deer management plan.
I have participated in a city limit hunt in Sioux City, Ia. for a number of years. I was originally contacted by a Sioux City resident who owns 21 acres at the cities edge. He explained that the deer were in his garden and eating his horse feed every night. He asked if I would be interested in taking a couple does to reduce the damage to his property. I agreed and he began the process of getting the approval from the City of Sioux City to allow a bow hunter to hunt deer on his property in the city limits.
He first needed to make a request to the office of the Chief of police noting the damage caused by high deer numbers. A police representative came to his property to view the damage and be sure bow hunting could be done safely. When this step was approved, the landowner then provides the chief of police’s office the name(s) of the individuals who would be allowed to hunt. Although Sioux City does not have an archery shooting proficiency test, (to ensure reasonable accuracy by the archers) many cities do require archers to pass a shooting test.
After final approval by the Chief of police, a letter is issued annually by their office, indicating the name of the landowner and the address where archery hunting is allowed. The letter also sets out the rules of the hunt:
Arrows should not leave the property hunted.
Arrows should not be fired when any non-hunters are present.
Lists the name(s) of the hunter (s).
Indemnifies the City of claims relating to arrows discharged under the permit.
Discloses the need for the hunters to poses a state license and deer tag necessary to hunt deer with archery equipment in Ia., and hunt only during the regular Ia. bow hunting seasons.
City of Sioux City reserves the right to revoke the permit at any time without notice.
With the start of the 2015 archery deer season on Oct 1st, , I was anxious to do some early season bow hunting. On Oct. 3rd I traveled to Sioux City for a morning hunt. At approx. 8:15 a fork horned buck was spotted heading my way. I watched as he passed by at only 5 yards. A few minutes later a nice doe on the same trail, worked her way towards me. When she had gotten quite close, I slowly drew my bow, picked a spot and released the arrow. The arrow hit its mark and resulted in the harvest of a nice doe.
The city limit deer program has been very successful in reducing deer numbers while providing additional hunting opportunities.