Be certain to wear blaze orange or blaze pink if you plan to visit Rice Lake State Park of Owatonna December 5 or 6. A special deer hunt is scheduled for the weekend to "control the deer population and protect natural resources," according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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A day-use area will be open to non-hunters. In addition to wearing highly-visible clothing, "Visitors should also check for hunt-related information on the park website and at the park office, if open, upon arrival," the report notes.

Travis Westbrook is a natural resource program coordinator with the DNR and states, "Too many of one animal or plant species in an area can start to throw off the balance of other species in that area. Wen there are too many deer in a park, they feed too much on certain trees and native plants."

Dates have already passed to apply for a license in the special hunt area.

In a related note, Owatonna Parks and Recreation is hosting an archery deer season in a number of city parks. This includes Hammann, Cashman, Kaplan's, North Straight River, Leo Rudolph, Manthey, Kriesel, Mineral Springs, and Maple Creek Pathway. The parks remain open to the public through the deer hunt, which ends December 23.

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