Saturday, April 14, 2012

IL DNR Sharpshooting, A Conservation Concern

  Back in January  when I was brought on to Illinois Wisconsin Fishing, Blake and I had talked about bringing some hunting reports to the blog. As a lot of anglers are also hunters. This topic is more of  a conservation issue then a hunting report that I feel should be brought to the attention of all residents of these two states.

  Over the past 10 years the IL DNR has spent close to 10 Million dollars or more on setting sharpshooters in our woods and communities. The reason being is the spread of CWD Disease among Whitetail Deer. CWD stands for Chronic Waste Disease. It is a disease that is spread mostly through saliva among deer. This disease was heavily started in Wisconsin and has slowly moved South over the border into IL. In the state of Wisconsin you are allowed to bait deer, in IL this is illegal. A hunter will put out a mound of corn to draw deer in and sit over the pile waiting to strike. This is a big problem when it comes to trying to control the disease. A non infected deer comes into a bait pile that an infected deer was just feeding off of and gets a kernel with the infected slobber on it, and that deer will more than likely become infected as well. CWD pretty much destroys the deer causing it to lose control of its functions and pretty much lose weight until it dies.

 Over the past 10 years or so that the IL DNR has been trying to get control of the disease there has only been 336 deer found infected with CWD between 2003-2011 in Northern IL. That 336 is out of more than half of million plus deer populated in the northern counties. Every year in the state of IL. there is anywhere between 180,000 to 220,000 deer harvested statewide. So the amount of deer that we have in the state that are infected are very small compared to the total population of deer. IS this worth 10 million dollars? The money is spent on high powered rifles, man power, and night vision so DNR can sit and wait over bait piles. The very same bait piles that help the disease spread. Double negative??? Last year the DNR sniped a total of 46 deer out of a very small area in Huntley,IL near where I hunt every fall. This year they proposed to take a total of 150 out of that same area. Many petitions have been filed already. There is a billboard in Crystal Lake,IL that was recently put up to basically protest the sharpshooting program.

  This has sparked many conversations and conflicts with the IL DNR. Recently an archery shop owner had posted the very same picture above to the IL DNR Facebook page asking questions and asking how they felt about the situation. They removed the photo from the page and a few days later a DNR officer was visiting his shop. The DNR said he was there to educate him so the shop owner could educate his patrons. The shop owner proceeded to ask him some very interesting questions.

1. How much money does the DNR spend to sharp shoot deer? DNR replies roughly a million dollars a year

2.What is going to stop the poaching of deer?  DNR replies that it will be one of two things, funding or politics

3.What does the state rank as far as record book deer? IL. is ranked number 2 currently because of all the deer in or near the Mississippi river valley. IL. used to be number 6 back in the mid to late 80's.

4. The shop owner then proceeded to asked why McHenry Co.IL. was ranked number 2 in the US for producing  pope and young record book deer 10 years ago and now  we are ranked in the high 50's or low 60's? DNR officer replies that it because of all the poaching of deer for CWD.

  In the hunting community this has become quite disturbing. Now the disturbance has gone even farther. Homeowners are becoming even more disturbed by the sounds of gun shots near their homes. In the state of IL. we are only allowed to hunt with shotguns bolstering slugged ammo. Max range on most shotguns with slugs is 100-150 yards. The hi tech high powered rifle ammo the DNR is using can range 1,000 plus yards all the way up to a mile and a half away  in distance. A stray bullet can do some damage to homes, pets, and persons.

 I also posted the pic of the billboard on the IL DNR Facebook page asking questions and proposing ideas. They soon deleted the post. My question where the following and wondered what you all thought on them.

1. Rather than spending the million a year on having sharp shooters take out deer, why not open it to the hunters?  Issue site specific deer tags drawn by lottery with set check stations. The hunter would obviously pay a fee for the tag and would have to check the deer at the station so the officer could take samples from the deer to see if they are infected. The WI DNR has done this check station set-up for years. IL has some stations set during the normal hunting season in some counties. The fee from the tags issued would pay for the check stations and the man power to run them rather than spending tax dollars and license fees on the program. The fees could even make some extra money to put toward other conservation programs.

 I received no response from this proposition. To me it makes no sense to do what they are doing when they could make money rather than spend it. For more info check out the following links.


  1. I believe the sharpshooting programs are bad news, simply because hunters can do the same job at no additional expense to the tax payers. I Understand the challenges that confront hunters in suburban areas as i myself hunt water fowl with in sight of the NYC skyline; however, if we can put a man on the moon DNR departments and hunters can come up with another solution. Great post thanks.

    1. I couldn't agree more savage. Does NY have the same CWD issue in there deer heards?

    2. NY did have CWD in the western part of the state several years ago in 1 or two "captive" deer, but other than that i believe that is it. I live just over the line in CT and they have passed laws on transporting deer from NY to CT because of the CWD.

    3. Interesting. I just got an offer to hunt the western part of NY. Pendleton,ny to be exact. Is this a good area for nice deer?

  2. I find the sharp shooters to be a bad idea as well, they were doing it (probably still are but i haven't been keeping up on the subject) in wisconsin. It's a HUGE waste of money IMO. Where i hunt in wisconsin used to be in the heart of the CWD zone, and we've never shot a deer that had it (they used to make you test them when we were in the eradication zone, it's now optional where we hunt) They made baiting in wisconsin counties illegal as well.

    1. Thanks for the input Blake. I hunted in the Omro area this past fall and I know they where still letting them bait there. I hope things turn for the better for the deer and the hunter.

    2. A neighbor of ours printed up some signs"No Sharpshooting on this property! Stop the DNR" I purchased several and put one up on my property next to where someone poached a deer during the dnr deer culling season. Long story short the DNR stole the sign it was found by State Policemen in the office of the DNR on the boss' desk The State's Attorney dropped charges because the DNr Geographic Info specialist who stole the sign "made a mistake and didn't realize he was on private property". I would like to save the state money and end this program but I cost them thousands when they hired their high priced lawyer to defend them.