Updated: January 7, 2012 8:11AM
Homer Glen has been a town for only 10 1/2 years, and while it’s getting harder to do so by the year, many residents still see themselves as rural residents. Consider the town’s motto: Community and Nature ... in Harmony.
So it’s not surprising that some homeowners in the village have appointed themselves as Defenders of the Deer — determined to try to prevent the Will County Forest Preserve District from conducting another deer kill in its forest preserves, including the Messenger Woods and Messenger Marsh preserves near the village.
Included on their agenda is pressing the village board to approve an advisory referendum in March on whether residents support the culling program, which began last winter.
At a meeting last week, several residents expressed sadness at no longer seeing deer on or near their property. A longtime Homer Township homeowner said she used to see deer by her apple trees, and “there aren’t any this year. None of them are coming to eat our falling apples.”
While we admire the residents’ appreciation of nature and deer in particular, they’re missing the larger picture — the culling program benefits the county’s deer population and protects its long-term health.
Forest preserve district naturalists say the program protects the remaining deer from starvation and the dreaded wasting disease and maintains the ecosystem in the woods. They say the target density is 20 deer per square mile.
They’re the nature experts, not the homeowners. Do Homer Glen residents really think the district wants to kill deer for no valid reason? That would make no sense.
Culling also helps fight hunger locally. District sharpshooters last winter killed 134 deer, and about three tons of venison was donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, as it will be this season.
The deer culling foes should drop their campaign. It’s misguided. Let the deer experts do their thing.