Allerton open for bow hunt to help control deer population
By Craig Chamberlain News Bureau Staff Writer 217-333-2894; email@example.com
Allerton Park, near Monticello, will be opened to hunters this fall for the first time as part of an effort to control an overpopulation of deer in the park and surrounding area. The park, owned by the UI, will hold a special permit-only bow hunt for deer in the south part of the park during seven individual weeks between mid-October and the end of December, according to David Schejbal, associate vice chancellor and director of the university’s Office of Continuing Education, which oversees the park. Additional deer will be taken by sharpshooters during the winter, early in 2005, and then carefully examined for research purposes. Schejbal, along with other university and park officials, announced the plans as part of a news conference at Allerton on July 22. The hunts are needed as a means for slowing the rapid growth of the deer population in the 1,500-acre park, according to Dick Warner, a UI professor of wildlife ecology who has been studying the problem. Estimates, based on a count last winter by helicopter, put that population at 163 deer per square mile, far above the 20 per square mile that biologists estimate as sustainable to keep a balance within the park’s ecosystem. Schejbal and Warner noted a number of problems related to the large deer population. The animals are eating flowers, bushes and other decorative plants; causing serious damage to numerous trees by rubbing up against them; and accelerating the spread of invasive, non-native plant species by eating native species, especially wildflowers, before they can go to seed. The deer also carry ticks that may spread Lyme disease, and they add to the number of collisions between deer and motor vehicles. For more background on Allerton’s deer population and the concerns related to it, see the front-page article in the July 1 issue of Inside Illinois: www.news.uiuc.edu/ii/04/0701/deer.html. Hunters seeking more information can call 244-1035.
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