Compromise at City Hall: Council to allow certain types of hunting in newly annexed areas

The Bemidji City Council and some of Bemidji’s newest residents came to an agreement when it came to hunting within what is now the city’s limits.

During the meeting last night, newly annexed residents into Ward 3 voiced that they wished to be able to hunt their acreage, as they always had, before it was annexed in February, such as Victor Yerbich.

The request was originally interpreted as being for rifle hunting, but the confusion was cleared up during the work session.

No one on the deer committee, such as David Rave, was in favor of rifle hunting within the city, for fear it would jeopardize the city’s archery hunt.

The council will be amending its firearm ordinances to make exceptions for muzzle loaders, shot gun, and bow hunting during the appropriate seasons in the Bemidji Game Refuge, where the Yerbich land is.

This compromise was agreeable to members of the deer committee, law enforcement and the property owners.

As the city works to amend this ordinance, a temporary policy for these landowners will be put in place, to allow the types of hunting permitted under the regulations of the Bemidji Game Refuge.

The ordinance process will take about two and a half months, with publication and readings during regular council meetings.

Ward 3 is not currently included into the city’s archery deer hunt, but with enough requests from the ward’s residents, and a completed deer population survey, it may be included in the future.

City Attorney Al Felix also advised the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board may need to look at zoning for other types of land use, including agricultural uses such as keeping livestock, as the Yerbichs also expressed.

Since the JPB meets once a month, any changes to the area’s zoning could take several months. City code currently does not allow livestock within city limits.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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