City to crack down on nuisance animals

File Photo Deer graze in Rosehill Cemetery in southeast Minot.

Chased out of parks and robbed of garden produce, Minot residents have had it when it comes to over-populated wildlife.

“People are literally getting run out of the parks and they don’t want to come back to golf,” Park Board member Chuck Emery said of the city’s goose problem.

Diann Briggs, a Minot resident and Rainbow Gardens member who collected 101 signatures on petitions to urge the city to address the deer problem, said members are saying they will not garden again until something is done about the deer. At least 40 deer have been counted living in nearby Rosehill Cemetery and 68 deer are living in a section of northeast Minot.

“They are all over town. It’s not just the gardens. We have to do something all over town,” she said.

Hunting wildlife and erecting temporary, portable fencing are a couple of immediate measures mentioned by the North Dakota Game & Fish at the first meeting of the Minot City Council’s Animal Nuisance Committee Wednesday.

File Photo Geese make themselves at home in a Minot city park.

Greg Gullickson, outreach biologist with the North Dakota Game & Fish in Minot, said more than 20 communities in the state allow some form of legalized hunting in city limits.

Currently, anyone with a bow hunter’s license is able to hunt in Minot. The city council rejected an ordinance to ban arrow shooting in city limits in 2015 so there is nothing on the books outlawing the practice.

However, Gullickson said cities typically set aside times for hunting, such as special hunting events on golf courses. With information about wildlife numbers, the state also could issue extra hunting tags, he said. The state currently doesn’t take urban wildlife populations into account when determining tag numbers.

Emery, a member of the committee, said the golf course has attempted to reduce the population by destroying eggs, but it has been impossible to stay ahead of the waste, and golf balls have even struck geese accidentally, he said. As many as 250 geese have been noted on a single fairway.

Emery also said the park board voted to draft an ordinance making it illegal to feed geese in the parks. Although signs already state that people should not feed the geese, the lack of compliance has prompted the park district to consider enforcement.

The nuisance committee plans to consider drafting an ordinance prohibiting feeding of wildlife. Gullickson told the committee that feeding encourages over-population and is discouraged by Game & Fish because it promotes the spread of animal disease.

“Having a bird feeder in the backyard is not that big a deal, but you start dropping out corn or a large amount of alfalfa, that can be a concern for spread of disease,” he said.

Too much bread also can physically harm geese and ultimately lead to death, he said.

Gullickson suggested there may be an emergency solution for Rainbow Gardens in the way of temporary fencing available through Game & Fish. Funding from Game & Fish and other wildlife groups also could potentially be available for a permanent fencing solution, he said.

The committee at this time is focusing its attention on turkey, deer, geese, raccoons and rabbits. The goal is to reduce the population of nuisance animals to tolerable levels as determined by the community.

The committee will meet again Oct. 4 at 12:30 p.m. in City Hall. Committee members are chairman and council member Josh Wolsky, Rainbow Gardens president Mike Ruelle, Dwayne Walz with Lowe’s Nursery, Police Chief Jason Olson and Emery.