Will County to recount deer in two forest preserves
BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Media December 8, 2011 4:12PM
Updated: December 9, 2011 8:29PM
Will County will take to the skies for a “deer recount” after some Homer Glen residents objected to a planned deer kill in two nearby forest preserves.
Will County Forest Preserve District Board president Cory Singer (R-Frankfort) said the county will spend up to $2,000 to have a helicopter crew double-check the deer population and confirm that culling is required in the Messenger Woods and Messenger Marsh preserves.
“We’re going to do our recount, and we’re going to do it in good faith and we’re doing it because we think it’s the right thing to do,” Singer said at Thursday’s district board meeting.
At the same time, he accused district Commissioner Kathleen Konicki (R-Homer Glen), a leader of the anti-culling effort, of making “inappropriate” and “shameful” suggestions about whether the recount can be trusted.
Konicki said she wants an independent observer to go up in the chopper. One Homer Glen resident even offered to pay for the recount, she said.
Commissioner Chuck Maher (R-Naperville) said Thursday that he would go on the flight and monitor the deer count, and Singer accepted. But Konicki continued to protest.
“I fear that you’re not going to get the credibility that you’re looking for from Mr. Maher,” Konicki said, drawing a small gasp from Maher’s side of the board room.
Singer countered by suggesting that the recount be skipped if the opponents of culling won’t believe the results.
“How ridiculous is it that you have been supporting concerns and perpetuating concerns among residents of Homer Glen that the forest preserve district ... somehow wants to play around with deer numbers so that we could justify a deer culling program for some, what, bloodthirsty weird reason?” he said to Konicki.
“(Why would we ) want to go out and do this if it’s not necessary? I mean, this is how far off base you got.”
The deer kill is under way in some of the other forest preserves, where the deer count was done similarly to that in the two Homer Township woods. The district initially planned on killing a total of up to 250 deer this winter in eight preserves to have a population average of 20 per square mile.
District naturalists have said the culling, which began last winter, is necessary to protect the deer population’s long-term health and maintain the ecosystem of the preserves.