JOLIET – Joliet Junior College officials are seeking ways to control its growing deer population.
At Tuesday’s Board of Trustees workshop meeting, trustees were notified of the deer population on campus impacting crops, properties and bike path safety. Judy Mitchell, JJC vice president of administrative services, wanted to see if deer culling – or population control by eliminating deer – would be a viable option.
“It’s been a concern, and ongoing concern since 2009,” Mitchell said.
She said the Illinois Department of Natural Resources confirmed there is excess number of deer at JJC and that department officials would support deer culling.
JJC trustees recommended contacting the Forest Preserve District of Will County as well as gathering public input. Board Vice Chairman Andy Mihelich said he wanted public input to see if there are other concerns and alternatives to controlling the deer population besides shooting.
“We can make a decision that would have a broader range of perspective,” Mihelich said.
Mitchell said college officials were contacted several weeks ago about damage to the crops from deer, as well as concerns about property damage to natural areas on campus.
After some research, she said, potential loss of revenue from crop damage would amount to $20,000. She also mentioned the possible loss of donors who contribute seeds to crops. She said they expect a report on the success of crop production and yield.
She also said the college received a letter from a neighbor about bike path pedestrian safety around campus after they noticed a large number of deer on the paths.
She also said there has been concern about deer causing vehicle accidents and spreading disease.
The college could secure added insurance if it allows deer culling on campus at the cost of about $834, she said. The college does have a certified hunter who takes care of skunk and raccoon issues on campus already, she said.
Staff with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources would come to campus and assess the damage.
The hunters would work mainly in the natural areas on campus and not use bows and arrows but guns, she said. Hunting would be restricted to weekends and holidays only.
Trustee Michael O’Connell said he has been on the paths surrounding JJC and seen dozens of deer himself.
“There are a lot out there,” he said.
Mitchell plans to research the issue further and come back at a future meeting with more information.