Kane to allow bow hunting of deer in north preserves
By Matt Brennan For The Courtier-News September 13, 2012 3:52PM
A pair of white-tailed deer graze near Sleepy Hollow Road in Sleepy Hollow May 3, 2010. 5/3/10 | Sun-Times Media~File Photo
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:56AM
Two forest preserves on the north end of Kane County will be open to archers for the first time this upcoming season, as the county tries to control an overcrowded deer population.
The Freeman Kame Forest Preserve near Gilberts and the Brunner Family Forest Preserve north of Carpentersville will each be open to controlled archery on a lottery basis, for two five-week seasons.
Both preserves have had high numbers of deer, according to Forest Preserve Community Affairs Director Laurie Metanchuk.
“We’ve been monitoring the deer population up there for years,” she said.
Some area residents have voiced opposition to the planned archery hunting, but officials say the number of deer has become a problem.
Residents were split at a public hearing held in Gilberts last month on the issue of culling deer in the forest preserves.
Rutland Township resident Katherine Schultz said in the past she often would see many deer roaming her neighborhood.
“Last summer, I only saw two deer, and this summer none,” she said. “You can’t tell me the forest preserves are being overrun with deer.”
And in a letter to the editor this week, Carpentersville resident Billita Jacobsen questioned the safety and effectiveness of allowing bow hunting of deer in county forest preserves.
But Sleepy Hollow resident Steve Flexman said he has seen firsthand the decimation of native plants in the forest preserves by the deer, destroying the habitat and food sources of other species.
“There are no flowering plants anymore. Although deer are an important part of the ecosystem, they’re just one part,” he said. “If the district’s research shows (the deer) have to be controlled to help everything else, then they need to do it. The need for it seems so obvious.”
At the Brunner Family Forest Preserve, officials have seen counts as high as 50 deer per mile; at Freeman Kame, the counts reportedly have been as high as 25 per mile. A healthy population is typically below 20 deer per square mile, according to wildlife experts.
A high deer population can throw a preserve out of natural balance, result in a higher spread of tick-borne disease, and increase deer-vehicle collisions, officials said.
In order to keep some of these issues in check, a fixed number of archers will be allowed into these preserves between Nov. 1 and Dec. 9, and then again from Dec. 10 to Jan. 20.
The preserves would be divided into zones, with one to two hunters allowed in per zone. The county does not yet know how many zones there will be, which will ultimately decide the number of archers allowed in.
Archers will be chosen by a lottery between Sept. 26 and Oct. 10. There will be a $10 fee to enter the lottery for an archery spot in addition to the state-required hunter’s license. From that point, the lottery winners will have to pass a proficiency test to be able to shoot.
The forest district hopes to have an application form on its website soon to enter the lottery. The website is www.kaneforest.com.
Metanchuk said the forest district plans to keep the program going with other preserves that have a high deer population in the upcoming years.