BY SAM VAN CAMP
The Vermilion County Conservation District has decided to open Forest Glen County Preserve east of Westville for archery deer hunting next fall due to a large increase in the deer population within the park.
Forest Glen, established as a preserve, is losing many of its protected species of plants within what is known as the browse zone (an area near ground level) which is also important to some bird species which are also declining.
The management plan for Forest Glen has always been to leaved things alone and let nature take its course but the decrease of browse zone species, related to the increase in the deer population has forced the VCCD to reconsider its management plan.
There will be 64 hunts drawn by lottery, three special hunts by silent auction along with 3 special hunts via live auctions. Lottery tickets will cost $25 per ticket or five tickets for $100. The lottery drawing and auctions will be July 20 with the cut-off date for lottery tickets being July 12. The hunts are open to both resident and non-residents, will consist only of archery hunts (cross bow if eligible), and will guarantee a lottery winner of 20-40 acres of land to hunt for a period of one week except those weeks during the firearm seasons in which those hunts will be cut short due to the firearm season.
A hunter can apply for four hunts on his or her lottery application. A winner of the lottery will also need to purchase a VCCD permit ($25 for county residents and $50 for non-residents). Hunters also will need their state deer tags and are allowed one buck and one doe during their weeks hunt. If a button buck is taken, that will count as a hunter’s one buck.
There will be four hunts per week during the sixteen week season, a total of sixty-four hunts in prime deer areas accessible via the south side of the park. The hunts will be non-transferable.
Forest Glen has never been hunted however hunting has been done on several of the sides outside the park. The first several years will be the best as deer have used the park for years as a sanctuary. Good healthy deer herd populations are normally between 15-30 deer per square mile. Over one hundred deer can be seen on a good evenings drive through the park in just the picnic areas alone.
Hunters will be allowed two tree stands per week in their area and they can take in one observer if they so choose. Trimming of brush and trees will be allowed only from what a hunter can reach from his stand as park officials want to keep as much intact as possible. All four hunt areas will be equal in opportunity for deer.
With archery harvest running at 35 percent, Forest Glen offers a great opportunity to take a trophy buck. The auction hunts will be in the center of the park in red hot zones. The general public will not be affected as these hunts will be in areas not used by the public and will be clearly marked. Fliers will be available at local outdoor vendors. For more information visit the VCCD website at www.vccd.org or contact Gary Wilford at 260-4637.
Return of the robins
My wife and I returned from Hawaii last Sunday and as we took a shuttle back to the hotel I saw a cluster of about 30-40 robins on the snow covered ground. I had several people contact me about sighting robins as early as Feb. 1. This is always a good sign of spring but seeing a red-winged blackbird, which should occur sometime this week, is a major tell-tale sign as I am not convinced that all robins leave this area for the winter but I have never seen a red-winged blackbird in the dead of winter.
Tuck Miller writes about bowling on Thursdays. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.