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City deer hunt to continue in the fall

The City of Duluth has extended its contract with the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance to manage a bowhunt for deer within city limits this fall. As the current contract requires, a review panel met March 30 to evaluate the ABA's handling of the 200...

The City of Duluth has extended its contract with the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance to manage a bowhunt for deer within city limits this fall.

As the current contract requires, a review panel met March 30 to evaluate the ABA's handling of the 2006 hunt, said Carl Seehus, the city's Parks and Recreation director.

"We found they [the ABA] had performed extremely well what they were supposed to do for us," Seehus said. The group also conducted the 2005 hunt.

The City Council does not have to vote on the contract extension because last spring's contract was for two years, provided the ABA met its obligations. Seehus wrote a letter to the City Council recommending an automatic extension of the contract.

Seehus said the review panel recommended two minor changes. One would require the ABA to keep for five years the ethics oaths signed by hunters. The other would require hunters to put name tags on the elevated stands they use in the hunt.

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In addition, it's likely that a few small additions will be made to the designated hunting areas within city limits, Seehus said. Some residents have notified the city of areas that they would like to have included in the hunt. Last year, the hunt was conducted in 20 zones across the city, totaling about 20,000 acres.

One hundred ninety-five hunters harvested 564 deer, up from 331 taken in 2005, according to the ABA.

This fall's city hunt will begin Sept. 15, concurrent with the statewide bowhunting season.

Recent charges brought against two former ABA board members for alleged unlawful hunting in the city did not affect the ABA's contract extension, Seehus said. Jay Boberg already had left the ABA board, and the other, Jeff Murray, resigned after the charges were made, said Phillip Lockett, ABA president. The cases on the charges, which are petty misdemeanors, are pending.

"I did have a conversation with the ABA, and I said the outcome of what they did [in light of the charges] might affect the letter I wrote to the City Council," Seehus said. "They immediately sent an e-mail to me. They took the high road. They did the right thing, so it was not part of the report [to the council]."

In an e-mail to Seehus, Lockett and five board members said, in part, "Mr. Murray and Mr. Boberg will be prohibited from participating in any of the Duluth Hunt activities pending the outcome of legal proceedings. The ABA wishes to send a clear and convincing statement that it will hold itself to the highest standards of conduct and that its leadership team is included in that policy."

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