Recent warm weather brought an unceremonious halt to Lincolnshire's deer culling discussion Monday, as Trustees supported the idea but postponed it until fall.
Trustees were asked to vote on whether to hire sharpshooters to shoot up to 10 deer in the village to prevent the deer's destruction of Florsheim Nature Preserve. The state recently granted the village permission to cull deer, but only until March 31.
Public Works Director Frank Tripicchio said the state limit was to ensure that deer are shot in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Tripicchio said the temperature requirement is to ensure that the deer meat stays fresh for use to feed homeless people in shelters. But the recent warm weather convinced trustees they would not have enough cold days in March to carry out the program.
"I just don't think the time is right," said Lincolnshire Mayor Barbara Lapiana. Trustee Brett Blomberg agreed, saying it was "absurd to continue at this point."
However, the trustees voted to reapply to the state for a permit for deer hunting in the fall. Trustee Trudy Calef was the only trustee to vote against the reapplication, saying there was not enough know about the number of deer in the area of Florsheim Preserve to justify the permit.
Residents opposed to killing the deer saw it as a victory of sorts. Five residents attended the meeting urging the trustees ton consider other solutions, such as fencing all or part of Florsheim Woods, to protect the native plants there.
"It's a half-step forward," said Kari Lange. "It was a way for them to save face." Lange said she welcomes the opportunity, expressed by some trustees, to continue to study the Florsheim problem.
Don Terry told trustees about a bloody trail found stretching from the Ryerson deer killing site the night after Forest Preserve-hired crews killed deer in the woods. Terry said it was evidence the sharpshooters shot but did not kill a deer, causing it to wander in agony through the woods.
Trustee John Conatser said that without actually witnessing the shot deer, Terry was jumping to conclusions about the cause of the blood trail.
Pat O'Brien said even if this deer was shot and merely wounded, that should not preclude the trustees from culling deer.
"I wouldn't expect every sharpshooter to hit every deer every time," O'Brien said. O'Brien, the Park Board president, said he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a representative of the board.
Davida Terry said she was vehemently opposed to deer killing but added that she agreed with the goal of the trustees.
"I am all for saving these plants," Davida Terry said. "How do we work together?" Terry also said since no deer has been observed eating plants, the trustees cannot be sure they are the culprits.
However, Trustee Ann Maine said the damage on the top of the three-foot-tall cardinal flowers could not be caused by any other animal living in Ryerson.
The Terry s also appeared before the Lake County Forest Preserve the next day, using the blood trail to criticize the county deer culling program.
In a related action, trustees also amended the discharge of firearms prohibition in a village-approved deer culling program.