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Newport approves changes to deer hunt policy

A metro bow hunting organization will conduct annual deer hunts on public land in Newport under an update to the city's ordinance OK'd recently by City Council members.

The updated ordinance allows members of the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base to hunt deer in spacious Loveland Park and Bailey School Forest after Oct. 15 each year. It is an effort, city officials say, to thin a local deer herd an aerial survey revealed is much larger than the city thought when it passed the ordinance allowing bow hunting in portions of the city in 2010.

Bow hunting for deer is allowed on five-acre parcels of land in a hilly, wooded, largely rural residential area in the northeast part of the city.

Other tweaks to the ordinance include a prohibition on feeding deer -- a problem identified by residents of the area -- and a requirement that hunters receive a certificate confirming proficiency from the Metro Bowhunters group. Under the original ordinance, hunters were tested at a Newport archer shop that has since closed.

Hunters must seek permission before hunting on any piece of property. Neighboring cities Cottage Grove and Woodbury also have bow hunting ordinances in place.

The changes, approved at a City Council meeting late last month, follow neighborhood meetings where residents whose property impacted by the hunting voiced a number of concerns with the ordinance, among them safety, neighborhood disruptions and a desire to leave wildlife alone.