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Kane seeking public input on wreducing deer population

A vehicle heading Southbound Sleepy Hollow Road May 3 2010 comes halt as one villages many deer crosses road.

A vehicle heading Southbound on Sleepy Hollow Road May 3, 2010, comes to a halt as one of the villages many deer crosses the road. 5/3/10 | Sun-Times Media~File Photo

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Deer management hearings

Kane County residents are invited to two public forums next week on managing the deer population in county forest preserves:

Monday: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the lodge at Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls, 40W095 Freeman Road, Gilberts.

Wednesday: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Public Library, Room C, 125 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove.

For information, visit www.kaneforest.com.

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Updated: September 11, 2012 6:20AM



Frolicking deer are an all-too-common sight in Kane County.

Residents can catch a glimpse of the animals in their yards, on bike paths and, often, running erratically across busy streets.

As the deer population continues to grow, Kane County Forest Preserve officials are asking residents to weigh in during two upcoming public forums — one in Sugar Grove and the other in Gilberts — about deer management tools such as hunting and culling, among others.

“We know the deer population is high in several areas, and reducing deer herds is necessary to allow oak regeneration and ensure species diversity,” said Drew Ullberg, director of natural resources for the forest district.

“Deer management needs to be viewed in the holistic approach since we are working to restore, restock, protect and preserve public lands. Our objective isn’t to eradicate deer but to reduce the herds so a more ecologically sustainable condition can occur.”

Officials are proposing the management of deer numbers in forest preserves where overpopulation has been documented.

No numbers have been put forth yet on how many deer might be killed, but it would not be the first time deer have been culled from Kane County preserves. Last year, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources received permission to kill 40 deer from northern Kane County preserves — 20 from a portion of rural Dundee Township and 20 from the open-and-wooded village of Sleepy Hollow — and test them for chronic wasting disease.

Pro, anti-culling

For some county residents, culling deer would be sweet relief.

“The deer are very smart. They know that they are safe on government property, so why not hang out there?” said Dundee Township Trustee David Edwards. “We have them in our back yard eating most of our flowers and plants. I gave up on a garden.”

Although Dave Poweleit — an outdoorsman and self-described conservationist from Carpentersville — knows it’s controversial, he thinks hunting is the most effective strategy for deer management.

“Techniques such as birth control have not been effective and are not natural,” he said. “Deer populations are at a high because man has eliminated their predators. We are unlikely to bring back predators to a suburban environment; thus, implementing culling through hunting would be a natural solution.”

While Poweleit recognizes many people are opposed to hunting the animals, he said it can be done humanely.

“It is certainly much better for the deer and for humans than an auto collision,” he said. “I love to see deer, but I also believe that we need to be good stewards for the land and apply effective management strategies.”

Pat Glen, who lives in unincorporated Dundee Township, said culling and relocation seem to be the only options discussed when the issue of deer management arises. She wants to see other avenues explored.

“I’ve lived in a wooded area for 31 years that is home to many deer,” she said. “We’ve seen the herds increase in size, and also it seems that there are more multiple births. It was rare to see twins; now they seem to be quite common. And they do much damage, there is no denying. So I chase them back into the woods.”

She wonders about drugs that could be used to prevent conception, or chemicals added to salt licks during mating season that can stem a buck’s libido.

“(It) may sound odd, but then so did importing ladybug beetles to control crop-damaging pests and using specific micro-organisms to ‘eat’ pollution,” she said. “Should it be so difficult to devise other humane methods to control the birth rate of deer?”

Upcoming hearings

Community members can share their thoughts on the issue during two public information meetings. The first one will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday in the lodge at Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls, 40W095 Freeman Road, Gilberts. The second meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sugar Grove Public Library, Room C, 125 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove.

Forest district staff will be on hand to answer questions at the meetings. The presentation will include information on deer ecology and impacts, research, benefits to management, proposed locations, and recommendations. Kane County residents will be asked to provide written comments on the proposed recommendations.

More information is available at www.kaneforest.com.



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