Deer harvest is scheduled at Lake Elmo Park Reserve


Lake Elmo Park Reserve will be closed to the public for the first and second weekends in November so that a deer harvest can be conducted at the park.
Washington County park staff conducted a winter aerial survey of the deer population over Lake Elmo Park Reserve and the City of Lake Elmo last winter. Working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), it was determined that the park is overpopulated with deer. This, according to an agenda item from the July 21 Washington County Board of Commissioners meeting, has a negative effect on the area.
“Overpopulation results in habitat and vegetation degradation, increased deer and vehicle accidents, and may increase the risk for Lyme disease transmission,” according to the agenda memo.
The DNR recommends reducing the number of deer per square mile. The park reserve’s deer population is up to four times greater than the recommended herd size, so the DNR has indicated that up to 80 deer should be removed from the park.
The most effective manner to remove the deer is a shotgun harvest, according to the memo. The harvest will be held the first and second week in November, which means the park will be closed to the public for that period. Parks staff will work with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the DNR to conduct the harvest.
This removal technique has been used six times in the past 20 years, most recently in 2013.