What is community-based deer management (CBDM)? In an established CBDM program, the first step is to decide on goals and set up objectives that are measurable and recommend management actions. There has to be a plan for monitoring progress and a plan for public engagement. You cannot forget to include the need for a budget, timetable and a list of responsibilities (who is responsible for what).

The River Forest Ad Hoc Deer Committee, created in early 2020, was tasked with four objectives:

1. Drafting a community survey and reviewing the results;

2. Researching alternative ways to manage/reduce deer conflicts;

3. Planning at least one community forum to educate residents on the importance of a deer management program; and

4. Preparing a written report with the committee’s findings and recommendations to the village president and board of trustees regarding deer management strategies to use in the village.

In an attempt to fulfill our responsibilities, the ad hoc committee created and distributed the survey and received a community response of 18%. The alternative ways to management/reduce deer conflict were not discussed, nor was planning a community forum which could have been done virtually (Facebook is full of examples of community meetings).

I do not believe most community members realize what goes into a successful CBDM program. It starts with the community. It is not just one aspect; it is creating a process that is defined and measureable. Otherwise, how will you know when the deer problem is resolved? Please don’t say when all the deer are gone (dead).

Because of conflicting views of how to address the deer/human conflict, the RF Ad Hoc Committee split into two groups last January when forced to vote CULL or NO CULL. The members of the original committee are promoting a CULL to solve the problem. The alternative group is promoting the establishment of a multifaceted CBDM program (which could result in culling after data has been collected and analyzed).

The trustees and president will vote on the two proposals in the next few weeks.

As the community, I thought you should know.

Laurie Gillard, River Forest

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