Bow hunters can take aim in the City of Rock Island after the Rock Island City Council approved deer hunting within city limits.
“I enjoy seeing the deer and so forth, but there’s a time when they should be thinned out,” said Vern Cook.
In Cook’s back yard is Saukie Golf Course, one of the potential sites for archery hunting in Rock Island. The past few years he’s seen an increase in deer. They’re eating his plants, but that’s not his only concern.
“The biggest concern is in the streets with the traffic, people hitting them and it’s dangerous and they’re just getting to be too many of them,” said Cook.
At the Rock Island City Council meeting Thursday, October 24, 2013, only one council member voted against the plan.
“I agree that there’s an issue that obviously we are developing an over population of deer, but to me it’s also kind of a dangerous situation we’re putting ourselves into in terms of allowing hunting in our city limits,” said Alderwoman Katie Holte.
The vote of 5-1 did not sit well with everyone at the meeting.
“I’m furious. I’m furious,” said Sarah Jacoby, “The idea of my kids riding their bikes by areas where there’s going to be hunters, scares me,” she added.
“It’s very limited in as safe a manner as we can possibly make it,” said William Nelson, Director of Parks and Recreation.
Nelson says the proposed hunting sites will need to be at least three acres, with each hunter having a minimum of five acres to themselves. Hunters will need to get a permit and take a proficiency test before they are able to hunt.
“I do not take comfort because somebody is licensed. People make mistakes, people error and one slip, one, somebody gets jarred,” said Jacoby.
Hunting could occur on a maximum of eight sites. Proposed sites include Saukie Golf Course, Highland Springs, cemeteries, and private property. Owners of the property would make the final decision about allowing hunters on their land.