ROCK ISLAND — Hunters will now be allowed to slay deer inside Rock Island's city limits.
At a special meeting Thursday, aldermen voted 5-1 to allow a pilot project for limited bow-hunting of deer in the city.
The trial program will run through the 2013-14 archery season, with the first hunt in December limited to eight sites, each at least three acres. Likely sites include Saukie Golf course, a small number of private yards and Chippiannock Cemetery.
No hunting will be allowed on any property where the landowner has not given consent.
Hunters must pass a proficiency test to obtain the special permit, and only downward shots will be allowed. Locations must be least 100 yards from a church, school or park.
Sue McDevitt, who lives near Chippiannock Cemetery, was pleased the council has taken action to reduce the population. She said deer have been "eating everything" in her garden for years.
"Every year there are more deer, and it's extremely difficult to get them to leave," she said.
An aerial count conducted last winter found 400 deer roaming within Rock Island's city limits. But city officials estimate the true deer population likely is larger than that, with the animals also blamed for attracting coyotes to Rock Island.
Aldermen who favor the deer hunt say the animals pose a risk to motorists. Thursday's lone opponent, Ald. Kate Hotle, 5th Ward, said she understood the problems deer pose but thought there were too many safety concerns to support the deer management program.
"We're talking about weapons being shot within our city limits, and I'm just not comfortable with that," she said.
Ald. Steve Tollenaer, 4th Ward, was not present at Thursday's council meeting.
Bettendorf and Davenport both have deer hunting programs to control their deer populations. Rock Island parks and recreation director Bill Nelson said he expects no more than 20 deer to be harvested in the city's first hunt.
Hunters will have to kill two does before they can harvest a buck with antlers. Permits will cost $25; any entrails left after a deer has been killed must be cleaned up by the hunters. Hunting sites will be designated by signs, and neighboring property owners will be notified by police that a hunt will take place.
To fulfill the requirement that shots must be taken from a downward angle, hunters likely will have to erect deer stands at most of the sites.
Today is Thursday, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers of Rock Island struck for higher wages yesterday morning, asking 25 percent increases. Employers have acceded to their demand. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Lighting struck wires of the Merchants Electric Light Co. during a furious storm, and many Rock Island business houses were compelled to resort to gas as a means of illumination. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to erect a new edifice at a cost of about $60,000. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Willard Anderson, junior forward for the Augustana College basketball team, which won 17 out of 22 contests, was elected captain of the quintet. 1964 -- 50 years ago: John Hoffman, Moline, president of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts, will be honored for his 50 years in scouting by members of the council at a dinner Thursday evening. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Quad-Cities has what is believed to be the area's first elite-class gymnast. It's the stuff upon which Olympic competitors are made. Tiffany Chapman, of Rock Island, not only has earned the highest possible gymnast ranking, she won the honor at age 11.