I woke up this morning thinking about the possibility of deer culling in River Forest. I live a couple streets over from the forest preserve where the culling could potentially take place. I say potentially because it hasn’t been decided by the village trustees yet, but it will be soon.

To me, bringing sharpshooters into our neighborhood forest is somehow normalizing gun violence. People may not be the targets but the idea of a mass killing nearby makes me ill. What about Maywood on the other side of the river? I cannot imagine how families impacted by gun violence there will feel knowing this is happening so close to their homes.

Reviewing the recent survey conducted by the Ad Hoc Deer Management Committee, homeowners are having problems. Landscaping is the major complaint. What River Forest needs is a legitimate, community-based deer management program and it needs to start with community education. According to the survey, 50 percent of the residents with deer issues are not doing anything about it, likely because they do not know what to do. When asked what kind of deer conflict-management program is acceptable to you, 51 percent of the respondents said either do nothing and leave the deer alone or prefer non-lethal options only. Only 22% of the respondents want culling only.

I believe the River Forest Board of Trustees, who represent the entire village, will consider these facts. I urge you, the reader, to please take the time to read the survey results; they clearly show culling is not supported by the majority of River Forest residents. 

Instead, encourage a vote to create a community-based deer management program that has clearly defined goals and measurable objectives to resolve human deer conflict. The benefits of this will include greater trust in the oversight of the program, enhanced public decision-making, and a greater likelihood of developing successful and sustainable deer-management efforts.

Let’s address the deer issues in a responsible, ethical way and keep gun violence out of Thatcher Woods.

Laurie Gillard, River Forest

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