Kane County Forest Preserve District officials are sending a message to local hunters that their kills can make next year's state deer culling less emotional than this year's.
Recent state testing of at least 75 deer for chronic wasting disease revealed the presence of the fatal deer illness for the first time in Kane County. However, the spread of the disease is contained so far.
Forest preserve staff members said Friday that state officials confirmed to them at a recent meeting in Rockford that deer culling will occur in Kane County again in 2012. No numbers for how many deer will be killed were revealed at the meeting. Fans of the local deer population decried the culling as excessive in the latest round. Only four deer were found with the disease. None of those four were among the sample taken by the state. All four were found by hunters or local residents.
"It doesn't seem like a lot, but it does mean (the disease) is there, and it is going to spread," forest preserve commissioner Mike Kenyon said.
Kenyon said he'd like to see more local hunters volunteer their deer kills for testing. In fact, he'd like to see mandatory testing for deer killed by hunters. But forest preserve district Executive Director Monica Meyers said that's not likely to happen.
"It doesn't look like they are willing to make testing mandatory," Meyers said. "They think hunters would be more upset by that than what the state is doing now."
Instead, Meyers said the district is tentatively working with the state to create voluntary test stations for deer parts. The stations would be located in the north, south and middle portions of the county at the district's maintenance and control facilities.
"We want to be part of the solution," Meyers said.
Kenyon said the district must work with the state to ensure the health of the deer population for future generations.
"If we let it get out of control then we'll have to destroy all the deer," Kenyon said.