Members of the Will County, Illinois District Board passed a deer management program on Thursday. The program permits trained marksman to target white-tailed deer found in the forest preserves of Will County. During fall and winter 2010 and 2011, the marksmen will work in five preserves and kill a certain number of deer.
The board has engaged in ongoing discussion this year about ways to thin deer herds within local forest preserves. District staff at the preserves report that overpopulation of deer results in native plant destruction, spreading of Lyme disease, and an increased number of deer-related car accidents. Board member Kathleen Konicki and some county residents oppose the recently approved deer management program.
Cory Singer, district board president, promoted public hunting to thin the deer population. Further internal discussions and several public meetings ruled out this option. Birth control has not proven successful in other areas and moving the animals is not humane because some of them die after being moved.
The five preserves that the sharpshooters will be working within are: Lockport Prairie, Messenger Woods and Messenger Marsh, Goodenow Grove and Plum Valley, Sand Ridge, and McKinley Woods. The smallest number of deer, 17 to 22, will be culled from Lockport Prairie. Goodenow Grove and Plum Valley Preserves have an average of 421 deer, the most of the five areas. Approximately 109 to 137 deer will be culled from this area.
In all, the marksman will cull a maximum of approximately 400 deer during fall and winter 2010 and 2011. The total average number of deer present in these five preserves is 871, so the culling will reduce the population by approximately 46 percent. The board has promised to consider other options and reevaluate the deer population figures each year to determine whether the program needs to be maintained.
Source: Warren, Stewart. SouthTownStar. Will County OKs culling deer herds.