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Bismarck to hold annual deer and wild turkey archery hunting events

Bismarck to hold annual deer and wild turkey archery hunting events

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The Bismarck Police Department plans to hold its annual deer and wild turkey archery hunting program on city properties in the fall.

Police are partnering with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, which has set archery deer season to start on Sept. 4 and the turkey archery season to open Oct. 10. The program has "aided in controlling problems" linked to wild deer and turkeys entering the Bismarck area, particularly in residential areas southwest of the city, according to a proposal that city commissioners approved Tuesday. 

Deer can cause vehicle crashes and damage people's yards. Turkeys also can be a nuisance for property owners.

The urban archery deer hunting program in Bismarck was started in 1987 and has taken place every year since with the exception of 2011, when it was canceled due to Missouri River flooding. The turkey program started in 2007.

Archery hunting seasons are "really good tools to try to help reduce deer or turkey populations in locations where it is really difficult to use a firearm like a rifle or shotgun," state Wildlife Chief Jeb Williams said.  "This provides some type of management that can help reduce the abundance of deer or turkeys that can cause problems for people within city areas."

Applicants must have a North Dakota archery license, which hunters can purchase online from the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. Licenses will be available once Bismarck police determine which prospective hunters receive a trespass permit, Williams said.

The police department's animal control division will issue 25 trespass permits to interested hunters on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters will be allowed to use the permits to hunt both deer and turkeys.

Animal control staff will monitor hunters participating in the program. They also will provide instructions and maps of city land. 

The program has been "accepted by the public," Williams said, "but that's contingent on good behavior with the hunters, and that's something that hunters have done an extremely good job of."

The Game and Fish Department doesn't plan to change the deer and turkey archery program due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in North Dakota. 

"Having somebody sitting in a tree stand in the woods by themselves, they're following social distancing pretty well," Williams said.

Reach Andy Tsubasa Field at 701-250-8264 or andy.field@bismarcktribune.com.

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