FARGO — After a city bow hunter made a plea to the City Commission to keep Fargo's urban hunting program, the commissioners decided this past week to keep the plan calling for a public input meeting before taking any action.
Resident Brent Mitchell said he applied and harvested a deer the past three years, and it was a "safe program providing wholesome food to my family and is very valuable to city residents."
Despite concerns by Police Chief David Zibolski about safety problems because of the city's increasing population, Mitchell said he hadn't seen or heard of any issues.
Zibolski announced late Friday afternoon that the the public meeting on the Wildlife Management Program that allows bow hunting for deer and turkey harvesting will be Tuesday, June 22, at 4 p.m. in the City Commission chambers.
Police staff will give a short presentation regarding safety concerns and how the program affects police resources. Then residents will be allowed to offer their comments.
Commissioner Tony Gehrig, who strongly supports keeping the program along with Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, urged waiting on any decisions until after the hearing.
Piepkorn said there was a discussion with Fargo Park District Director Dave Leker, who expressed interest in having the district resume management of the program that started in 2006. In recent years, the police department administered the hunting on the fringes of the city along the Red River.
Zibolski reported 43 of 45 applicants hunted last year and harvested 26 deer and one turkey, which he didn't think had a big impact on the populations.
The chief said he is concerned about errant arrows as more people are walking, jogging, biking, skiing and walking their pets along the river.
Across the river, Moorhead only allows bow hunting in the former Oakport Township area in the far north part of the city and a few areas near MB Johnson Park.
The Moorhead program is managed by the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, according to police spokesman Deric Swenson, but the city will soon take over the program.
Those wishing to speak at the Fargo hearing must register by noon Tuesday either online at FargoND.gov/wildlife or by calling 701-241-1310.
Residents who wish to provide comments before the meeting may contact Interim Police Capt. Chris Helmick at CHelmick@FargoND.gov.