Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
deerhead

Marc Anthony of Goodfield owns and operates Look Alive Taxidermy and Non Typical Hunter magazine. Anthony grew up in central Illinois and spent eight years as a commercial pilot before giving that up to spend more time with his wife Jan and three children, Victoria, Drake and Elesa. Anthony hunted on and off as a child but started seriously at age 30 and focuses on bowhunting for deer and turkeys. He's arrowed four bucks that meet the Boone and Crockett Club (net) standards and 20 Pope and Young Club qualifiers. Anthony is on the Pro Staff for Muzzy broadheads, Bear Archery, Vital Gear, Natural Predator, Non Typical Hunter and several other companies. He also is a member of the Outdoor writers Association of America, OWAA.

 

Non-typical Hunter

A Web log by Marc Anthony

Here’s one reason why we get so upset!

January 25, 2010 at 01:46 PM

Here’s one reason we so called “anti-DNR” folk get so upset. One day the DNR claims they want more access for Illinois hunters but when they get a chance, they totally ignore the very people they are supposed to serve. Read the article below from the Rockford Register Star. This is a place where hunters could have gone to hunt, the meat would have been put to good use, the state could have saved much needed money but instead, they hired sharpshooters. It just makes me sick!!!! Maybe this article will help some hunters find some common ground. You see, it’s not all about trophy bucks, it’s about access and opportunity for Illinois tax payers. If that wasn’t bad enough, THEY BAITED!!! Now that’s a great way to spread CWD!


By Mike Wiser
RRSTAR.COM
Posted Jan 22, 2010 @ 08:11 PM
Last update Jan 23, 2010 @ 12:29 AM
ROCKFORD — Winnebago County sharpshooters began culling deer in local forest preserves this week, just days after a petition with more than 600 names supporting an end to the program was brought to the Winnebago County Board.

The sharpshooting program has been so effective at reducing the number of deer in county forest preserves, say signers of the petition, that it’s time to let the population grow again. The herd size has fallen 83 percent to 49 deer per square mile since the sharpshooting program began in 2004, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“The private-land hunters are getting less deer because there’s a smaller (deer) population,” said County Board member and hunter John Ekberg, R-10. “I’d like to see (the Forest Preserve District) open up at least some of the lands to a public hunt. Maybe not all at once, but start in an area one year, then open up another area.”

The board’s 28 members serve as de facto Forest Preserve commissioners; however, there is a seven-member Forest Preserve executive committee that oversees most of the district’s operations. On a practical level, the full board typically follows the recommendations of the executive committee members.

Forest preserve officials say that by the time Ekberg’s request came to the board, it was too late to stop this year’s planned sharpshooting, which will run through March.

“It’s scaled back this year. We’re using about a third of the guys we did in the past,” said Drake Branca, director of operations for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. “We’ll have three or four go out two nights a week. ... When the program started, it was more like 10.”

Numbers falling
Opening the forest preserves to public hunts was a hot-button issue in 2003 and 2004 as the herd count on forest preserve land — according to forest preserve estimates — reached as high as 295 deer per square mile.

Proponents said hunters would be willing to pay to hunt in the preserves, giving the county another source of revenue while reducing the herd. Opponents, led by late board member Mary Ann Aiello, said using trained sharpshooters was the only safe and responsible way to reduce the herd size.

The program put in place also restricted the sharpshooting to after dark when the preserves were closed. Deer meat is donated to local food banks.

Meanwhile, the advent of chronic wasting disease and the need to test animals in the area strengthened the resolve of the public hunt opponents, who used it as another reason for employing paid professionals. 

CWD is a transmissible neurological disease of deer and elk that produces small lesions in brains of infected animals. Symptoms include loss of body condition, behavioral abnormalities and death.

And the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of sharpshooting in curtailing the percentage of CWD cases found in deer has been cited by people like Greg Davis as a reason the sharpshooting doesn’t work.

Davis delivered copies of the petition asking for the sharpshooting program to stop to several shops in Boone and Winnebago counties.

“What the sharpshooters do is, they shoot at night using bait and lights,” Davis said. “From a sporting perspective that’s all wrong. And if they’re trying to stop CWD, which is transmitted through saliva, using bait is the wrong way to do it.”

But the state Department of Natural Resources says CWD programs and herd reductions are separate issues.

“There have been problems with the size of the herd in (Winnebago County) since the 1980s when it was evident that the size was harming the environment,” said Tom Beissel, DNR regional wildlife and CWD manager for this area. “The goal of a sharpshooting program is to manage the herd. So is an open hunt program. Neither is supposed to address CWD.”

Regardless, Beissel said, opening public lands to hunters has been the long-standing recommendation of the agency.

“Our recommendation has been and continues to be that (the Winnebago County Forest Preserve lands) would be open to hunters,” Beissel said. “That’s not new.”

New board
The sharpshooters come from the forest preserve employee ranks, and they have to adjust their hours if they volunteer to shoot. They are not paid overtime for the additional duty, but they are also not otherwise working regular forest preserve duties.

Eric Pierson, who also helped pass the petitions, believes this is a waste of money when you have hunters, like him, willing to hunt in the preserves for free or even pay for the privilege.

“My ultimate goal is to stop the sharpshooting,” he said. “If after that, you want to replace it with public hunting with permits, I think that’s the best way to go.”

Branca said with the program already under way for this year and a new county Forest Preserve Board to be seated in November, he doubts anything will change before the end of the year.

“Anything is possible,” he said. “But with the board leaving and a new one coming on, I think this board will let the next one decide.”

Davis says he’ll continue to push the issue of stopping the sharpshooting locally. 

“We’ll keep going if there is support for it,” he said. “We didn’t even put the petition at Gander Mountain or Dick’s (Sporting Goods). ... If we can get some petitions there, I bet we could get over a thousand signatures to give to them.”

Staff writer Mike Wiser can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 815-987-1410.

Permalink

More from Marc Anthony

A Non-Typical Hunter's Hit List

To contact Marc Anthony


Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons