Silver Lake -- Several of the 35-40 residents who attended the Village Council meeting on June 19 offered their thoughts on a potential deer culling program.
Bill Poloski questioned why the residents weren't allowed to vote on the deer culling issue.
"I talked to eight different people today," said Poloski. "Not one wanted it done. I think it should be on the ballot."
Resident and former Councilman Adrian Achtermann said the deer have caused damage to his property, including tearing down his fence. He also noted that deer spread ticks.
"It's a real problem," said Achtermmann, who invited Council members to visit his home to see the damage caused by the animals.
Resident Rick Lubinski said he felt it was Council's job to make the decision on the issue.
Resident Mary Lou Van Sise, who lives next to the nature reserve area where Council is planning to cull deer, said she does not have any problems with deer eating flowers and other vegetation on her property. At times, there have been "eight to 10 deer" in her yard, said Van Sise.
"My flowers are beautiful I spray," said Van Sise. "If it rains, I get my butt out there and I spray again. You can come down and you'll see the whole yard is full of flowers. So I see no reason to murder these deer in a nature reserve that's supposed to be safe for our nature."
Resident Dee Ohmer said when she first moved to the village she planted tulips and crocuses, but all of the plants disappeared when spring arrived.
"I have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result," said Ohmer. "If the deer eat your flowers, you don't plant the same ones again. There are lists available of the type of flowers that deer do not like."
She noted she favored a community vote on the issue and more study on how many deer are actually in the village.
During his time working in Silver Lake as a police officer, resident Dann Nivens noted he had seen "two separate herds" of 20-25 deer on the east side and another 20-25 on the west side.
Nivens also said he felt it was important to determine the number of deer in the village so officials get a better handle on how to manage the issue.
Resident Vicky Marimon urged village officials to examine "non-lethal" methods of controlling the deer population.
"You're going to have to cull again and again and again," she said. "It's not the way to fix the problem."
Just as officials had spoken with two hunters about the issue, she encouraged them to discuss the matter with a deer management specialist who is a PH.D biologist that she's spoken with.
"He does cull," said Marimon. "He looks at the situation and he finds the best possible way to control the deer I think in fairness, before you make a decision that you need to give all of the different options a chance."
She added that if residents would stop feeding the deer, "then you will see a decline [in the deer population]."
"I'm not sure I'm a fan of bow hunting," added resident Dan Markowitz. "There are some good bow hunters out there. I don't think theres a risk to the population from it." He added the sharpshooters used in the national park "probably can do as good a job as anybody."
Reisdent Nancy Walker Gerbetz "thanked" Council for its "thorough review" of the topic. She noted she was "not opposed to culling."
"I like the idea that the deer meat would be used by either the hunter or the food banks," said Walker Gerbetz.
Later in the meeting Village Solicitor Robert Heydorn said Council could put the measure on the ballot for residents to offer their advice, but Council would not be legally obligated to abide by the outcome of such a vote.
"Even after you get the [residents'] advice, you can still vote the way you want to vote," explained Heydorn. "You retain the right, the duty to make the final decision yourself."
Meanwhile, yellow signs stating "Save the deer in Silver Lake" have popped up on many yards in the village.
"The ones that I have seen, other than the fact that they have not asked for a permit, don't appear to be illegal by our standards," said Heydorn when asked about the signs' legality. He noted that because has the matter has become a "political issue I don't think you can ask for a permit. I think constitutionally there's a prohibition against that."
The placement and size of the signs meet the village's standards, according to Heydorn.