Lots of food, few enemies allow deer to wander free
Why are there so many deer in the Duluth area?
There’s little or no hunting within city limits, few natural predators and abundant food, allowing them to multiply more rapidly, said Chris Balzer, an assistant area wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Cloquet.
In addition, a series of milder winters has helped boost the herd. And some say the loss of habitat to development plays a part.
But Duluth isn’t alone. Urban and suburban areas across the state are seeing more deer, even though deer numbers statewide aren’t necessarily rising, Balzer said.
The special bow hunt started in Duluth in 2005 hasn’t made a noticeable impact, observers say, even though 500 to 600 deer have been taken yearly in the past three years.
Barring climatic changes or some extremely cold winters, experts don’t see the situation changing much.
“Ultimately I think we should learn to live with it,” said Bob Olen, a horticulturist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service in St. Louis County.