Deer culling will continue in Dundee Township as state biologists work to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state.
Thursday night, the township's board of trustees voted 3-2 to let the Illinois Department of Natural Resources kill 30 white-tailed deer in Salamander Springs, just off Binnie Road. Trustees Joanne Fritz and Ken Schaffer and Supervisor Sue Harney voted to keep the program going, while trustees Chuck Behm and David Edwards voted against it.
"I think this is very painful," Harney said after the vote. "I have not enjoyed this."
The state agency hopes to shoot 150 deer in all -- twice the number it sought last year -- and has already received permission from Sleepy Hollow to kill and test another 30 for the disease. It is still waiting on word from the Kane County Forest Preserve District and from at least three private landowners on the balance, said Ray Eisbrener, IDNR's district wildlife biologist.
Chronic wasting disease forms lesions in the brains of affected animals and symptoms include a lowered head, excessive saliva and an emaciated body.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is running a five-year program to determine where the disease came from and how it migrated here. The program is in its second year.
After sharpshooters kill the deer, biologists test the brain and a pair of lymph nodes for the presences of the disease.
This time, IDNR has expanded the original 25-square mile area of focus to include another five miles because local police discovered a deer with chronic wasting disease near Sugar Grove last spring, Eisbrener said, adding that the deer was roadkill and not a part of the sampling.
Four cases of chronic wasting disease have been discovered in Kane County. About 600 deer live within the 30-mile area and the goal is to kill and test 25 percent of them, he said.
Culling will take place between Jan. 16 and March 31.
About a half-dozen residents turned out for the vote and Billita Jacobsen of Carpentersville gave a 10-minute presentation in which she cited research that found culling deer was counterproductive to reducing the disease.
She also pointed out that none of the 75 deer IDNR sampled earlier this year had chronic wasting disease and asked that the issue be brought to a resident vote at the township's annual meeting in April.
"The evidence that culling doesn't work is substantial, but the only fact we really need is that not one single deer killed by sharpshooters in Dundee Township tested positive for CWD," Jacobsen said.
Eisbrener agreed that none of the deer sampled in the 25-mile area had the disease, but says culling efforts have kept the disease at a 2 percent prevalence rate in Illinois. He also pointed to a University of Illinois survey in which 68 percent of its respondents approved of deer culling.
"We're looking at it for the health of the herd ... and the future of the health of that herd," Eisbrener said.