SHARK's video from 1995 demonstrates the violence and cruelty of rocket netting, as well as the importance of using undercover cameras to expose such cruelty. The very day this video was released to the media, the County abruptly stopped the killing.
If you hear of a plan to rocket net deer in your area, and especially of any plan to kill them with captive bolt guns, contact SHARK!
SHARK's History with Rocket Netting
In 1992, the DuPage County Forest Preserve District began a lethal deer removal program. The two methods used to kill the deer were sharpshooting, and the use of rocket-nets combined with a captive bolt guns.
While SHARK is opposed to any killing, recommending the deer either be left alone or if need be controlled with a contraceptive program, we were most vocally opposed to the rocket-net/captive bolt method, for reasons that will become obvious in the following media accounts.
Cook County Bans Deer Netting!
Convincing public testimony and graphic videotape showing deer being catapulted in to the air, landing on their heads and necks and struggling and crying out for more than a half hour has prompted a ban on the controversial rocket netting of deer in Cook County forest preserves.
Click here to read the entire story about this SHARK success!
The extraordinary cruelty and suffering caused by the rocket-net/captive bolt compelled us to acquire and master undercover video equipment. In the years that have followed, this has enabled us to document and expose many other forms of animal cruelty, including rodeos, live pigeon shoots, live turkey shoots, donkey basketball, etc.
It should be noted that two and a half years elapsed from the time the rocket-net slaughter began, to the time it stopped. Activists put in countless hours in attempting to talk sense to elected officials.
After years of fruitless discussions, the rocket-net/captive bolt slaughter ended abruptly the day the video footage was released. The video images and audio of panicking, crying deer simply left no room for doubt about the cruelty involved.
Local media, whose editors had formerly supported the killing, did an about-face. Polls formerly favoring killing flipped to the side of compassion. It is a lesson to be learned by all who want to protect animals. If you want the public to support your efforts, show them what you are fighting against!
Incredibly, the killers tried to defend their actions. They said we were incorrectly interpreting the footage, and even disputed whether the footage was taken in DuPage County! In response, we invited the officials and the media to a press conference at the site where our footage was taken, in order to erase all supposed doubt. Predictably, the officials did not show up, prompting one newspaper editorial staff to write a scathing piece deriding the officials called, "Show up or shut up."
The childish antics of the forest preserve officials exposed that not only had they committed incredible cruelty, but also that they were willing to lie about it. The propaganda became laughable when the killers claimed the deer were moaning because they were given drugs to sedate them, or in effect, that they were high. Later, they would claim that the deer could not be given any drugs because it would ruin their meat! It was the bottom-out point for the credibility of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.
The commissioners did right thing and banned the rocket-net/captive bolt slaughter in DuPage County. Neighboring Cook County also declared first a temporary moratorium, which was within months followed by a permanent moratorium.
In apparent retaliation for the devastating public relations nightmare, some forest preserve district personnel talked to bowhunters about possibly hunting deer in DuPage forest preserves. Animal advocates immediately circulated information documenting the extremely high wounding rates of bow hunting victims.
Commissioners also received a letter from then Winnebago County Board Member and Forest Preserve District Commissioner Mary Ann Aiello, detailing the miserable failure of bow hunting in reducing the deer population at the Illinois' Rock Cut State Park.
The activists were further aided (inadvertently) by animal serial killer Ted Nugent, who spoke in favor of the killing. Mr. Nugent's long history of pro-slaughter comments regarding animals made it easy to not only expose him -- but also by association -- all bowhunters. The commissioners realized this would have been jumping from the frying pan into the fire, and overwhelmingly rejected bowhunting.