Starting next week, the Winnebago County Forest Preserve will begin efforts to reduce the deer population on its land. Some stateline residents have expressed concerns about who will be doing the shooting, whether it's necessary and what will happen with the deer meat.
Kenneth Lester racks up hundreds of miles on his bike along a Winnebago County forest preserve trail, and he's noticed the deer the area.
According to Department of Natural Resource calculations, there are ten times more deer than recommended on Winnebago County forest preserve land. Preserve leaders say this can be dangerous for the deer and humans, so we're over ten times over the DNR recommendations for the health and safety of the deer herd as well as other vegetation and wildlife in the area.
Trained and certified preserve employees will be doing the shooting. They hope to get as many deer as possible over the 90-day permit period.
"Because then spring is right around the corner and they'll be reproducing, and we don't want it to turn into a further population problem."
Some residents think culling is inhumane and animal populations will control themselves. But this forest preserve visitor thinks otherwise.
"I think it's a good idea. I think it's getting overpopulated and they ruin the trees," says Kenneth Lester.
Maybe animal lovers can find solace in the forest preserve's commitment to testing the culled deer to help control chronic wasting disease and donating safe meat to local food pantries.
The shooting will take place at four preserves in the southeastern part of the county.