GLENDIVE, Mont.-During the fall of 2011, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) in a cooperative effort with the city of Glendive implemented an urban deer hunt in response to high deer numbers within the city and adjacent rural areas that were threatening human safety and causing property damage. The February 15 closure of the 2012-13 season brought an end to the second successful urban archery hunt and the process seems to be working.
"We still have too many deer within the city limits, but we have seen a noticed reduction," stated Glendive Mayor, Jerry Jimison. Of the 200 special antlerless mule deer licenses made available during the 2012-13 season, a total of 93 licenses were sold and an estimated 55 deer were harvested (approximately 60% success rate).
Region 7 deer management objectives strive to sustain populations at a level that optimizes recreational opportunity for sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts, promotes social tolerance, and minimizes threats to human safety and personal property damage.
High deer numbers in and around the city of Glendive resulted in unacceptable levels of property damage and concern for human safety. The result of public meetings in 2009-2012 was the development and updates of the Glendive Deer Management Action Plan.
The goal of the Deer Management Action Plan is to reduce human-deer conflicts and property damage by lowering deer numbers in and adjacent to the city of Glendive. The plan allows for public hunting on open space property owned by the City of Glendive, Makoshika State Park, other public and private lands in an area that extends 1-3 miles around Glendive. The hunt is archery-only due to safety concerns imposed by the proximity to residential areas and businesses.
The Deer Management Action Plan also allows for law enforcement officials to remove individual deer that threaten human safety.
"The 2012 hunt ran smoothly," said Jimison. "This was attributed to return hunters who were familiar with the hunt area and rules, the state including adjacent property, and an improved map provided to each hunter upon the required sign up." As with any program in its infancy, improvements can always be made. Sixty Two sportsmen participated in this unique opportunity; of the 62, 10 were local and 52 were from out of the area.
Jimison would like to see more Glendive residents become involved because the opportunity is literally in, "their back yards" and "adding additional land would reduce risks within city limits while still reducing deer populations that call Glendive home."
The City of Glendive and MFWP will continue to monitor the local deer population and both parties plan to continue this joint effort. This experience has forged stronger working relationships between MFWP, the city of Glendive, law enforcement, and the public.
Anyone interested in more information about the Glendive urban deer management hunt should contact Wildlife Biologist Melissa Foster at (406) 796-5766 or firstname.lastname@example.org