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 Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass. 1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links. 1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned. 1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today. 1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.