Lake Alexander Woods SNA
Final Decision: Deer hunting will be allowed with no special permit starting in the fall 2015. Two units will open to all deer hunting and one unit will open to archery deer hunting only.
See map for details.
Factors in recommending changes to deer hunting at Lake Alexander Woods included:
- Expanded deer hunting will reduce long-term ecological damage caused by deer browsing on young trees. Deer hunting will take place on the larger units within the SNA. Smaller, scattered units that are part of the SNA will be closed to hunting for reasons of public safety.
- Prior to the change, portions of Lake Alexander Woods SNA were open to deer hunting by special permit. But the approximately 40 permits issued each year have proven inadequate to minimize deer damage to the oak forest plant community. With deer hunting restricted to special permits, the SNA has served as a de facto refuge where the animals can escape hunting pressure on surrounding lands. By making the SNA hunting rules the same as on surrounding lands, deer are less likely to congregate on the SNA.
- Periodic observations at the SNA, as well as more formal research at a nearby preserve managed by the Nature Conservancy, indicate that forest regeneration is being hurt by browsing deer. The deer browse on oak seedlings and saplings, eliminating the next generation of oak trees. This creates a serious concern for the long-term health of the mesic oak forest community of the SNA.
- There are no management or ecological reasons to have different rules for deer hunters on the larger units of the SNA than on surrounding lands. There are management and ecological reasons for reducing deer pressure on the SNA by making the rules there consistent with deer hunting on other lands in the area.
- In addition to being less effective in achieving deer management objectives, the special permit system was costly to administer and less transparent to the public.
Public hearing was held April 1st, 2014 in Little Falls, MN
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) held a public hearing to receive public comments regarding allowing hunting and trapping on specified portions of the SNA, dogs under control and berry picking at the Lake Alexander Woods SNA.
Scientific and Natural Areas are state lands established to preserve natural features and rare resources of exceptional scientific and educational value. The Lake Alexander Woods SNA is open to the public for non-motorized activities such as hiking, bird-watching, nature photography, and snowshoeing.
The Lake Alexander Woods SNA was established to protect a significant mesic oak forest community and habitat for rare plant and bird species, such as the red-shouldered hawk. Information on resources and location of Lake Alexander Woods SNA can be found at here. Learn more about recreational uses and visiting SNAs.