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A proposal to allow bow hunting in Rapid City passed Wednesday out of the city Legal and Finance Committee.

The first reading of the proposed ordinance will be held during next Monday's meeting of the Rapid City Council. A final vote is scheduled for Aug. 19.

A separate resolution establishing a bow hunting program within the city will be heard later this month. That program would allow hunters to kill antlerless deer in three proposed zones, all of which are in forested parts of town.

According to a draft of the resolution, only 21 permits would be issued for the program and each hunter would be permitted to kill only one deer. Permits can be applied for and obtained at no cost and would be distributed through a random drawing. Permit holders would not be allowed to hunt without first purchasing a state deer hunting license, which costs $20. 

The program is being developed by local government and law enforcement officials in conjunction with the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department. A similar program was launched in Sioux Falls several years ago.

The proposed hunting zones have been previously identified as hotbeds for deer sightings, according to the GF&P. One would be located north of the department's outdoor campus in Rapid City at 4130 Adventure Trail.

A second zone would sit on wooded, private property north of the Blessed Sacrament Church at 4500 Jackson Blvd. A third would be located in the woods just north of the Red Rocks golf course at 6520 Birkdale Road. The owners of both properties reportedly allow members of local sporting groups onto their lands to shoot deer as part of the city's existing harvest program.

The boundaries of each hunting zone are planned to be visibly marked, according to the draft resolution.

City officials say that the archery program could help reduce the cost of the harvest, which last year cost about $30,000. Rapid City has for years worked with local sportsmen to kill and remove deer through that program, with some of the meat going to area food pantries.

Applications for city hunting permits will be accepted between Sept 1. and Sept. 15. The program is expected to begin that same month, City Parks Director Jeff Biegler said Wednesday.

Hunting would only be permitted during seven separate periods that last for 14 days each and will be held from late September through the end of 2019. Permit applicants would be able to select a time period of their choice.

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