by Cori Hilsgen
More than 200 bow hunters have applied for a chance to hunt at St. John’s campus land this year. St. John’s Abbey is offering the hunt to 100 hunters to help cull the deer population to a healthier number.
This is the 12th controlled deer hunt since 1933. Controlling the deer population allows a natural regeneration of the forest ecosystem. This is essential for the long-term habitat of deer and other ecosystem components, according to the csbsju.edu website.
St. John’s Arboretum coordinator Jenny Kutter said an archery hunt allows an extended season for hunting, is safer and doesn’t conflict with other campus events such as football games.
“We are thrilled with the turnout for the St. John’s Abbey’s first archery hunt,” Kutter said. “The feedback we’ve gotten from hunters is they find it a privilege to have the opportunity to hunt in a place as natural and scenic as the abbey arboretum.”
Interested hunters needed to apply by Aug. 5 and a lottery will be used to determine the 100 hunters.
Kutter said the area is about 2,800 acres. Most of it will be available for hunting, but some areas closer to campus will be closed. The arboretum is within the Collegeville State Game Refuge. All wildlife species other than deer are protected and cannot be taken.
The archery season runs from Oct. 26-Dec. 31. Hunters must be able to take an antlerless deer in a zone covering SJU. They must bring and use their own Minnesota DNR archery licenses and must follow the Minnesota State Big Game laws.
The entire arboretum is in a “DNR Managed Deer Area” for 2013. Only hunters with valid SJU hunting permits are allowed to hunt in the arboretum.
Hunters are asked to be respectful of campus events. Individual and party hunters can earn a future chance to take a buck after harvesting three antlerless deer from SJU.
For more information, call the SJU Arboretum office at 320-363-3163.