A forest preserve sharpshooter shot a deer last month but failed to kill it, leaving the wounded animal to wander through the Ryerson Conservation Area, according to two animal rights activists.
Davida Terry of Lincolnshire and Steve Hindi, of Geneva-based Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, plan to attend the Lake County Forest Preserve Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning to ask about the incident.
"This behavior shows not only incompetence but insensitivity and complete disregard for the suffering of this wounded animal," Terry said.
However, Lake County Forest Preserve District President Carol Calabresa said there is no proof a deer even was shot that day.
"We're trying to verify some facts, to see what happened," she said. "We will be discussing that on Tuesday."
Hindi said he and Lake County resident Greg Campbell were near a shooting area on Feb. 14 when they spotted a trail of blood that led them to a bleeding doe lying against a tree.
"We could see the explosion of blood and where it was shot," Hindi said. "The immediate problem is that you have a shooter at close range who cannot reach its target."
Although the two men videotaped a trail of blood in the snow, they did not catch the deer on tape.
But Calabresa said sharpshooters hired by the forest preserve can account for all the deer they've shot.
"None of the neighbors reported any wounded deer. Only these two people saw it," she said. "Sure, it could be illegal hunting. We have had that happen on preserves. But there are also a lot of car/deer accidents out here."
Hindi said Terry said they want the name of the sharpshooter they say shot the deer, his or her qualifications and the reasons Lake County has not applied for a deer fertility control program during the past 10 years.
"We're not interested in filling the room and causing disruptions," Hindi said, adding there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
The forest preserve district uses sharpshooters to cull its deer population – a practice Hindi said is unnecessary.
"Overpopulation is in the minds of the people, Hindi said. "It's not land not being able to provide for deer. People are zooming around and don't want to damage their cars (with deer collisions)."
The forest preserve has tried other methods besides shooting for deer management, Calabresa said, with little success.
The number they actually do shoot a year is low, she said.