Originally Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2013, 7:39 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 25, 2013, 10:06 am

RI approves deer hunt in city

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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti/pcolletti@qconline.com
A deer takes a break from eating flowers from a planter in the backyard of a Rock Island home on Thursday, October 24, 2013.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti/pcolletti@qconline.com
A buck stands in the front yard of a Rock Island home on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013.

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.