Animal activists and forest preserve officials clashed Tuesday over whether a deer, allegedly wounded by forest preserve sharpshooters, was seen wandering bleeding in Lake County.
Meanwhile, late Monday, the Lincolnshire Village Board dropped the curtain on a long-running controversy by deciding against killing deer in Florsheim Woods.
Lake County Forest Preserve District President Carol Calabresa lashed out Tuesday against the activists for going to the media in the case involving a report of a wounded deer in the forest preserve.
Calabresa spoke out after five activists testified before the forest preserve board that a deer allegedly shot Feb. 15 by sharpshooters in a deer-culling operation in Ryerson woods left a trail of blood in the woods. Two of the activists said they saw the wounded animal, which then vanished into the woods.
"Their comments today are obviously to create controversy and gain media attention, not to get answers," Calabresa said, denying that any deer escaped wounded form the culling operation.
Some media outlets carried stories of the reported blood trail.
"Four deer were culled at Ryerson Woods the morning of Feb. 15," Calabresa said. "None headed into the woods with a wound."
Officials said 18 deer have been killed at Ryerson Woods this year under a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The activists called for an end to deer killing.
"Guns, killing," said Patty Fox of Riverwoods. "Let us use our brains and intelligence and find a way to live with these animals."
Davida Terry of Lincolnshire asked for a deer contraception program. Her husband, Donald, offered photos of the blood trail in the snow.
Greg Campbell of Barrington said he followed the blood trail and saw a wounded deer "stand to its feet and bound off the site. Apparently the deer was shot the night before. The deer was left in the woods with a bullet."
Forest preserve officials insisted that all deer shot in the culling operation died and were accounted for, and that illegal poachers might have wounded a deer or one might have been hit by an auto.
"It is truly unfortunate that contacting the media to create controversy took precedence over contacting the forest preserve," Calabresa said.
The forest preserve's deer management is a mode, Calabresa said, and has "the desired effect of preserving and restoring habitats for a diversity of native animals and plants."
Afterward, Davida Terry said, "I'm hurt. I don't think it's wrong to go to the press," adding that a County Board member had encouraged her to do so.
In Lincolnshire, village officials, who obtained a deer management permit from the state valid until March 31, had planned to killed up to 10 deer in the 40-acre nature preserve, which was being damaged by nibbling deer.
Frank Trippicchio, director of public works, said the warm weather was a factor in deciding to halt the deer management program. The weather brought new greenery on which the deer could feed so the animals would shun bait stations used to attract them to sharpshooters. And with no snow on the ground, tracking would be difficult.
Trustees voted 5-1 to reapply for the culling permit in the fall. They also called for more studies on the impact of deer on the preserve.
Davida Terry and other activists also had campaigned against the proposed Lincolnshire cull.