In a 5-3 vote, Moline aldermen approved a city-wide urban deer hunt that will be modeled after a similar hunt in Rock Island.
The hunt, approved during Tuesday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, will be placed on the City Council agenda after city staff writes the ordinance for council approval.
The resolution was passed with the proviso that hunting will be done only on private property, not city-owned property.
Interim Police Chief John Hitchcock provided a presentation about other cities with deer hunts — Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf — and the impact those hunts have had on problems such as deer-vehicle crashes.
Hitchcock’s graphic showed that in Rock Island in 2014, there were 47 deer-vehicle crashes, with 54 in 2015 and 57 in 2016. In 2017, there have been 20 crashes to date.
In Davenport, there were 70 deer-vehicle crashes in 2014, 88 in 2015, and 82 in 2016. To date, there have been 37 such crashes in 2017.
In Bettendorf there were 32 crashes involving deer in 2014, 47 in 2015, 38 in 2016, and 14 so far in 2017.
Hitchcock said the hunts do not appear to have had a significant effect on deer-vehicle crashes.
However, in Rock Island at least, the hunts have reduced the number of complaints from people about property damage, he said.
Hitchcock said that if City Council wanted an urban deer hunt, it “should be modeled after Rock Island’s,” as that city also works closely with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in operating the hunt.
Alderman Michael Waldron, 7th Ward, said it sounds as though people are angry about the deer eating their hostas and are not taking responsibility for keeping deer off their property.
Alderman Quinten Rodriguez, 1st Ward, had concerns that a proper counting of the deer has not been done. “We may need some more information,” he said, adding that without a proper count how would the council know if progress is being made in culling the herd.
Alderman Mike Wendt, 3rd Ward, said that he has fences and that “deer can jump.”
Alderman Lori Turner, 5th Ward, said it would be good for the city to have a deer management plan in place.
In other city news, Moline is trying to make its parking policies more visitor-friendly.
During the committee-of-the-whole meeting, city planner Jeff Anderson and Moline Center Main Street Executive Director Adam Holland, told aldermen they have been working on ideas to make parking regulations easier to understand as well as make them visitor-friendly without letting people park their vehicles where they want for as long as they want.
Turner said that people must move to make room for other visitors to the city.
Council instructed Anderson to go ahead with the suspension of space jumping, a 15-minute grace period when parked in a timed parking space, and forgiveness for the first parking ticket, and tweak the parking plan as needed.