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Lebanon Hills closed periodically for controlled deer hunts

Several Dakota County parks will be closed periodically during November and December due to controlled deer hunts.

Hunts are scheduled at Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Spring Lake Park Reserve, and Miesville Ravine Park Reserve. To ensure the safety of residents, the parks will be closed off to the public during the hunts, which are part of Dakota County's deer management program.

Lebanon Hills will be closed all day on Nov. 14 and 21, and closed until noon on Nov. 15-16, and 22-23.

The west end of Spring Lake Park Reserve will be closed on Nov. 11-13 and 18-20, but the Schaar's Bluff area will remain open. Miesville Ravine Park Reserve will be closed all day Nov. 19-27 and Dec. 3-11.

Participants for the 2016 hunts were drawn via lottery and are eligible to participate if they attend a mandatory orientation and meet other hunting requirements. Archery hunts will take place at Lebanon Hills Regional Park and Spring Lake Park Reserve. Miesville Ravine Park Reserve will host shotgun and muzzleloader hunts.

Deer management in the form of controlled archery hunts has taken place throughout the Dakota County park system since 1995. Controlling the deer population creates ecological conditions that encourage a healthy forest and reduce damage to gardens and landscaping.

Lower deer populations improve the parks' natural resources by slowing the spread of invasive species and reducing browsing on understory plants. This helps establish a greater diversity of ground plants, shrubs and trees, and improves habitat for other wildlife. Reducing deer-car collisions and possible spread of deer-borne diseases are other reasons for controlling deer numbers.

For more information about the hunts and to view boundary maps, please visit www.co.dakota.mn.us/parks and search "deer hunting."

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