After hearing residents complain for years that deer were gobbling up gardens and nearly causing accidents on the streets, the Fort Dodge City Council will decide tonight whether bow hunters should be allowed to thin out the herd.
The council will hold a discussion workshop on a possible urban hunting season, which would not begin until September 2023.
Next, council will consider a measure that would approve the deer hunting season. This measure would have to be approved three times to authorize a hunt.
Council activity will begin at 5:30 p.m. today at the Municipal Building, 819 First Ave. S., with a workshop discussion on the possible urban ordinance on controlled bowhunting.
The council business meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the municipal building. During this session, council will vote on the first reading of the deer hunting ordinance.
If ultimately approved by the board, the hunt will still need to be approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
All hunting would be archery only.
An approved deer hunt would not be open season anywhere in the city. Hunting could only be done on about 3,200 acres on the north, east, and west edges of the city. Any hunter wishing to participate must be approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the police department.
Deer complaints have come to council from time to time for decades.
In January 2020, the city council received a petition signed by 307 people asking that the local government prepare a plan to reduce the deer population in the city.
In August 2020, staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources informed the council that an archery hunt to thin out the deer herd in the city might be conducted. Such a hunt would target female deer, called hinds.
Then in June 2021, the city implemented a system where residents could text to report deer sightings.