SILVER LAKE — Fewer deer were taken in this year’s cull and the mayor said one reason for that may have been the mild winter weather.

Mayor Bernie Hovey said the 2019-20 cull netted four deer, two on a 45-acre parcel behind village hall and two on Crystal Lake property. Of the four animals that were taken, two were kept by the hunters and two were donated to a local food bank.

The harvest was done by eight bowhunters in the woods behind village hall, Crystal Park Development Corp. property, and at 2822 Lakeland Parkway from late November 2019 through Feb. 2.

While the cull occurred, Hovey said he received "many comments" supporting the effort and "a few negative comments."

Ten deer were culled in 2018-19, while four were also put down in 2017-18. In 2017-18, hunting only occurred in the area behind village hall. The Crystal Lake and Lakeland properties were added for the 2018-19 cull after the land owners requested that hunting occur on their properties.

The mayor said it is generally believed that the warmer than normal winter "hindered the cull," but he emphasized officials have "no way of really knowing how the weather actually affected it."

Hovey said he thinks the yearly effort to thin the herd has been effective and made the village safer.

"The number of police reports involving deer in the two years prior to the cull was reduced by nearly half in the two years following the first two culls," he said.

A decision on doing another cull will be made in September or October.

How it started

Following about nine months of discussion and debate, council in September 2017 voted 5-2 to implement the deer culling effort. Council members in favor cited concerns about public safety, the potential starvation of deer during the winter and the spread of disease in conjunction with what they felt was an observable increase in the number of deer during the last few years.

The two who opposed the effort — Council President Jerry Jones (At-Large) and Council member Tim Nichols (District C) — both said they believed not enough data had been provided to support the initiative. They also voted against adding the Crystal Lake and Lakeland properties to the cull in 2018.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.