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Hunting in Montana: 3 Things to Know About Urban Deer Hunting in Cities and Suburbs

By    |   Wednesday, 27 May 2015 01:37 AM EDT

The number of deer in cities and suburbs has been an increasing problem across the country in recent years, and Montana has not escaped this trend. The state has been waging its war against nuisance deer for over a decade, but an early taskforce decided that urban hunting was not a viable option for Montana cities as it carried too much risk for the communities, as reported by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP). This decision led to the exploration and ultimate use of other options in a series of events so detailed and involved that it is obvious the deer problem is a serious one in the state.
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  1. Urban Wildlife Working Group - Formed in 2004 after legislature about managing urban wildlife was adopted at the state level, the Urban Wildlife Working Group (UWWG) worked to “develop a strategy for working with local governments” on management issues. The group focused primarily on managing urban deer, though suggested that its recommendations toward that problem could apply to other species as well. After researching management plans in several other states at the time, the UWWG compiled a list of possible courses of actions and evaluated all of them for use in Montana. While it found hunting to be the most effective method in general deer management, its acknowledgement that many of the urban areas were too densely populated for this to be a safe option and that public ideology over the method was vehemently split, led it to conclude that hunting was not the answer for Montana’s problem. Though it did not specifically advocate any one method of management over the others, the group’s recommendations seemed to favor a “trap and dispatch” approach where deer would be trapped and then killed, explaining that deer that are trapped and relocated often do not survive beyond a year after release anyway.
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  3. Helena’s 2008 Initiative - By 2008, the deer problem in Helena, Montana’s capitol, had reached a critical mass. Estimates for the deer population just in that city were around 700, and The New York Times reports that the deer were so unafraid of humans that they would chase and sometimes even attack people and pets. Working in tandem with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Helena Police Department implemented a “trap and dispatch” program that aimed to remove 50 deer from the population.
  4. Helena’s 2013 Initiative  - While the 2008 initiative met with some success, it did not cure the problem. According to the Missoulian, though 670 deer were removed from the city from 2008 to 2013, more still had to be taken. Throughout the entirety of 2013, the Helena Police Department was authorized to take 200 deer from the population in an effort to reduce their numbers to 25 per square mile. These efforts were continued into 2014 after approval by FWP, significantly improving the urban deer situation.
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.

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The number of deer in cities and suburbs has been an increasing problem across the country in recent years, and Montana has not escaped this trend.
hunting, Montana, deer, urban, regulations
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 01:37 AM
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