View Full Version : IL: Kane Co. taking close look at deer population

Bob S
12-06-2009, 01:50 PM
ARTICLE (http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/stcharlessun/news/1922358,2_1_AU06_DEER_S1-091206.article)

December 6, 2009

By NICK SWEDBERG For Sun-Times Media

GENEVA -- Nearly one-quarter of all vehicle crashes involving a deer happen within 500 feet of Kane County Forest Preserve District property.

That was one finding in a study being conducted by a wildlife expert counting and tracking the white-tail deer population in nature preserves.

The main intention of the study is to determine the impact of a large deer population on native plant communities and what effect that will have on other species dependent on the plants within the preserves. Part of the effort would be to preserve and restore natural areas degraded by dense deer populations.

In a recent presentation to district commissioners, district wildlife biologist Bill Graser outlined monitoring and counting methods being used to determine how large a population is. Among the methods is the use of observers in helicopters to count deer against white snow in the preserves.

The study also gathered deer-vehicle collision information from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which uses the number of deer-related accidents per billion miles driven as a population index.

Data on Kane County from 1994 to 2007 showed an average of a little more than 500 vehicle collisions with deer a year.

The rate per billion miles driven was highest in 1994, with about 237.2 collisions. The lowest recorded rate was 135.9 collisions.

Graser's data also showed that between 2005 and 2007, an average of 24 percent of those crashes occurred within 500 feet of district property. The largest number of crashes occurred in Rutland, Dundee, Elgin, Campton, St. Charles, Blackberry and Sugar Grove townships.

The district is still gathering information on what the deer counts are like right now.

So far, 312 deer were spotted from aerial counts performed in January and February of 18 forest preserves, with the higher density ones in the northeastern part of the county.

"These are conservative counts, in my opinion," Graser said.

Rutting, the white-tailed deer's breeding season, occurs in the fall and is a period of high activity.

"Rutting season is not pretty," said district Executive Director Monica Meyers.

Graser said this year's rutting occurred in November and has passed.