Hunting Proposal Draws Heavy Flak from Defenders

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Byline: Jennifer Patterson Daily Herald Staff Writer

The McHenry County Conservation District's recent proposal to allow hunting on some of its lands is drawing fire from some.

The McHenry County Defenders, the area's best-known environmental group, has decided to oppose the plan, saying in a statement Tuesday the conservation district "has not shown conclusive evidence that hunting on their sites is required."

McHenry County Conservation District leaders agreed last week to study the idea of permitting the hunting of deer and waterfowl in 11 different conservation district properties throughout the county.

The plan is meant to help bring deer and goose populations under control in areas where the animals are negatively impacting certain species of plants, district officials say.

The Defenders have a long-standing policy against recreational hunting on conservation district lands.

Defenders Executive Director Lenore Beyer-Clow said district leaders have not researched the issue enough to make such an important change in their own policy.

"Right now, there isn't sufficient evidence, or at least I haven't seen sufficient evidence, to implement a full-scale recreational hunting policy," she said.

Conservation district leaders say they have been collecting data for nearly a decade.

Steve Gross, a member of the McHenry County Defenders and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among other environmental organizations, also is speaking out against the conservation district's proposal. …