Suburban Chicago deer & goose numbers in need of management

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Hunting proposal draws heavy flak.

By Jennifer Patterson Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted on August 22, 2001

The McHenry County Conservation District's recent proposal to allow hunting on some of its lands is drawing fire from some.

The McHenry County Defenders, the area's best-known environmental group, has decided to oppose the plan, saying in a statement Tuesday the conservation district "has not shown conclusive evidence that hunting on their sites is required."

McHenry County Conservation District leaders agreed last week to study the idea of permitting the hunting of deer and waterfowl in 11 different conservation district properties throughout the county.

The plan is meant to help bring deer and goose populations under control in areas where the animals are negatively impacting certain species of plants, district officials say.

The Defenders have a long-standing policy against recreational hunting on conservation district lands.

Defenders Executive Director Lenore Beyer-Clow said district leaders have not researched the issue enough to make such an important change in their own policy.

"Right now, there isn't sufficient evidence, or at least I haven't seen sufficient evidence, to implement a full-scale recreational hunting policy," she said.

Conservation district leaders say they have been collecting data for nearly a decade.

Steve Gross, a member of the McHenry County Defenders and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among other environmental organizations, also is speaking out against the conservation district's proposal.

Both Gross and the Defenders also are taking issue with the manner in which conservation district officials are handling the issue.

"They are not allowing a reasonable and ethical debate on this matter," Gross said. "This is our land; this isn't their land."

Another meeting on the matter is set for Sept. 20.

Residents will have the opportunity to give their opinion directly to conservation district board members then, according to a short statement issued Tuesday in response to the criticism.

Beyer-Clow said her group is working to inform its more than 1,000 members on the issue and how they can voice their opinion.

Gross also plans to be there and said he will ask conservation district officials if they have considered other options and if they will conduct an independent survey of McHenry County residents about the proposal.
 

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