The hunt is on to cull Rapid City's deer herds

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Rapid City Public Works Committee approved a measure Tuesday authorizing the Parks and Recreation Department to hunt 150 deer within city limits during the 2017-18 season.

These deer will be shot and killed by certified shooters near west Rapid City and the Skyline Drive wrea, beginning in January, and will take two weeks to complete.

Both Sportsmen Against Hunger and the Black Hills Sportsmen donated $1,000 toward the hunt.

The last two seasons, 100 deer have been killed. But based on a survey done by Game, Fish and Parks, the deer population is on an uptick, potentially caused by the drought.

"I think that will be aritfically inflated by the drought. We have lush greeny around town," said Kris Cudmore, resource biologist for Game, Fish and Parks. "We are able to keep our stuff watered. The deer see this, they notice so they come from the hills, come from the prairie into our oasis, and they are just trying to survive, utilizing what we have aritfically put on the landscape."

This program has been in effect since 1995, and the city says it helps foster healthy deer populations.

"We take a look at the number of deer being spotted throughout town as well as statistics from deer vehicle collisions," said Jeff Biegler, director for Parks and Recreation. "And our main reason for doing this is to reduce those incidents and improve the safety for those living and working around Rapid City."

All of the harvested deer meat will be donated to Feeding South Dakota.