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Some of nature's creatures are anything but loveable

By BECKY EDWARDS
DCN Correspondent

Pursuing the pest control section at the Ace Hardware in Woodland, it’s easy to see from the wide array of products available, that people are willing to try almost anything to prevent animals from getting into their plants and flowers.

The problem with animals such as deer, rabbits, squirrels and the occasional skunk and porcupine eating plants, is something that Duluth residents Fred and Amy Sowl have had to deal with over the years.

“We can see we get squirrels, rabbits and deer in the garden,? Fred Sowl said. “They get some of the vegetables and we get the rest of it.?

The Sowl’s said they haven’t done much to try and prevent the animals from getting into the garden because many times, animals can find a way around it.

“One family has a big garden and put up a fence, and the deer pushed it over,? Amy Sowl said. “They are smarter than we think they are.?

According to Denny Moran, who has just sold his Ace Hardware store to his son after 35 years, said he has heard his fair share of complaints from people who are looking to keep animals away from gardens and other plants.

“I’ve sold thousands of mesh fences, nets and burlap sacks to people trying to make fences. Everyone is trying to stop them,? Moran said. “It’s a year-round problem, there are just way too many deer.?

Moran, who lives outside of town, said that most deer he has had in his back yard, at one time, was 17, but says his neighbor once had 29.

“The deer moved out of the woods and into the city,? Moran said.

According to the Minnesota DNR, there are about one million deer in Minnesota and each year, approximately 500,000 hunters harvest roughly 200,000 deer.

The store offers products like Liquid fence and Shake away, which use odor (such as the scent of coyote urine) to keep animals away, by giving the illusion that there are predatory animals around. The store also sells electronic, motion-activated deer repellent that give off ultrasonic waves which are meant to prevent animals such as deer or rabbits from entering an area.

However, Moran says there are problems with products.

“Sometimes dogs and cats don’t like them, so if people have pets it’s not the best choice,? Moran said.

While some speculate that the hunting season may be one reason more deer are seen around the city, one of the biggest issues is that deer are showing up in places they haven’t been around before.

One of the other ways that the city of Duluth has tried to deal with deer is by allowing groups, such as the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance, to conduct controlled bowhunts in the city, in order to stop the overpopulation.

Duluth had created an ordinance (Section 6-77 of the Duluth City Code, 1959) that stated: “The city council finds that the peace and safety of the community and the health of the forest are threatened by the overabundance of wild deer within the city. Therefore, the population of wild deer must be regulated and managed. The method for the regulation shall be an annual harvesting of wild deer by use of bow and arrow.?