JOLIET – The Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees will consider an expanded culling program to control a growing deer population that is damaging crops.
At Tuesday’s workshop meeting, JJC President Judy Mitchell proposed a three-year program – following a pilot program that ran earlier this year – for deer culling.
She said it would be for the board members’ consideration at their Oct. 11 meeting.
“The damage to our crops continues to escalate,” she said.
Todd Vandermyde, a hunter who participated in the pilot culling program, said the JJC property is a sanctuary for the deer because it has abundant food, adequate water and habitat.
He said the only predators he was aware of were a couple of coyotes and cars.
“This is heaven for them. So you will get an explosion of numbers until the land can’t support it anymore,” Vandermyde said to board trustees.
He proposed focusing heavily on the female deer population as there are large number of them having twins and triplets.
Mitchell said the proposal will require Vandermyde to apply for a population control permit with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and college officials anticipate culling 60 to 65 deer during the first year.
The culling would be completed during the traditional hunting season – November through March – and rifles with bullets and suppressors would be used, she said.
Testing of chronic wasting disease of the deer will also be conducted, she said.
Mitchell said deer carcasses will be taken to a food processing plant and donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank and then distributed to shelters within JJC’s District 525 area, which covers several counties.
The only cost the college would incur would be the processing of the deer and transportation, she said.
Vandermyde said everything went well with the pilot culling program and he plans to work with the college to make sure an appropriate area is found to cull deer.
Mitchell spoke about the deer population issue at the Sept. 29, 2015, board meeting and said at the time that IDNR officials confirmed there were excess deer at JJC and they would support culling.