Police Department’s Deer Management Program Will Continue in Sioux Falls
This month, the Sioux Falls Police Department will begin its fourth annual deer harvest in city limits with the goals to reduce property damage and improve the health of Sioux Falls’ deer population.
For the past three years, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks has issued a permit allowing the Sioux Falls Police Department to harvest deer from the city of Sioux Falls. The permits were issued after a comprehensive study was completed including deer population counts, property damage reports, deer-vehicle collision data, and public input. During 2015, the first year of the program, 30 deer were successfully removed from southeastern Sioux Falls. In 2017, 50 total deer were removed from southeastern and northeastern Sioux Falls.
This year, the City has requested a permit for the removal of 50 deer, which will be removed from both the southeastern and northeastern portions of Sioux Falls.
During 2017, 121 deer were killed after being struck by cars on city roadways. Traffic accidents due to deer/vehicle collisions occur most frequently along the Interstate 229 and Rice Street corridors. Fewer traffic accidents due to deer/vehicle collisions have occurred this year than in previous years along the Interstate 90, Interstate 229, and Rice Street corridors.
This past fall, deer counts indicated a continued decline in the deer population in southeastern and northeastern Sioux Falls. During multiple surveys, they found a range of 37 to 38 deer in various parks in southeast Sioux Falls, which is a slight decline during the past three years. Additionally, officers counted deer in northeastern Sioux Falls, east of Interstate 229 and north of Rice Street. A total of 51 deer were observed in the three-square-mile Rice Street area, which is lower than in past years. A herd of 34 deer was observed in one hayfield.
An archery program has been ongoing in the Rice Street area since 2010 and assists in removing deer, but the number of deer harvested by hunters has not been able to keep up with deer population growth. Additional archery opportunities were also available in 2017.
“The City’s deer management program has been thoughtfully researched, planned, and conducted to limit the amount of property damage caused by deer, increase public safety by reducing the number of car/deer accidents, and improve the health of the overall deer population in Sioux Falls,” said Police Chief Matt Burns.
The deer will once again be harvested by Sioux Falls Police and Animal Control Officers who have completed additional training specific to deer removal. The meat from harvested deer will be donated to area food banks. Through the assistance of Sportsmen Against Hunger, more than 1,500 pounds of deer meat were donated to local food banks in 2017.
Safety for the public is a top priority when removing the deer. The deer will be discretely removed from remote areas so the public will not be in any danger during these events. The operation will be completed by February 28, 2018.