A growing deer herd in a Washington County park will be reduced next fall in a special shotgun hunt.

The deer harvest in the Lake Elmo Park Reserve is planned for the first and second weekends of November. Park staff conducted a winter aerial survey of deer and found that their excessive numbers are causing wear and tear on habitat and vegetation and are a danger to motorists.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommended removing at least 100 deer from the park. "The message we've been hearing is that the metro deer population needs control," said County Parks Manager Peter Mott.

The Lake Elmo park, about four square miles in size, can support between 60 and 100 deer. The park will be closed to the public during the hunt and Mott said prospective hunters will have to apply for permits through the DNR.

Similar hunts have occurred six times in Lake Elmo Park Reserve in the past 20 years, most recently in 2008.

Kevin Giles