St. Croix State Park in Hinckley will pilot an archery hunt for part of the 2014 fall deer season. The archery hunt will be Sept. 29 through Nov. 7, with the exception of Saturday, Nov. 1, and Sunday, Nov. 2, when the park will close for a youth firearms hunt. One hundred archery tags will be available; the deadline to apply for them is Aug. 15.
After a 2011 storm downed trees and dramatically changed the landscape, the number of rifle hunters allowed in the park was reduced for safety reasons. The archery hunt is being added to help safely maintain a healthy deer herd while allowing the park’s pine trees to regenerate.
Deer like to browse on the buds of immature pine saplings, which damages trees and stunts their growth. Consequently, when there are too many deer in an area, pine trees often struggle to reach maturity.
“We used to allow roughly 550 rifle hunters for our four-day deer hunt, but we decided to reduce rifle hunting until the vegetation has a chance to come back,” said Karl Sieve, assistant park manager. “In order to keep our deer herd in check, an archery hunt seemed like a great alternative for us.”
To apply for the fall archery hunt, hunters should write their name, street address, email address and telephone number on a postcard and send it to St. Croix State Park, 30065 St. Croix Park Road, Hinckley, MN 55037. Hunting parties of up to four people can apply together by putting each applicant’s contact information all on one card. The park plans to allow one additional antlerless tag per hunter for the archery hunt, as well as the normal either-sex archery tag.
Successful applicants will be notified by Aug. 22. Any questions regarding the hunt can be directed to the park headquarters at 320-384-6591.