Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a Senate bill that would have allowed the study of supplemental deer feeding to see if it benefits the animals.
Feeding deer is illegal in Illinois, but advocates say the extra nutrition would improve the health of the deer population.
A Senate bill would have created the study and allowed deer feeding for the purpose of the study.
Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, sponsored the bill. He said the study would have looked at ways to fight against diseases, such as Chronic Wasting Disease, that ravage the deer population.
“Is it more harmful than not for us to do this or would it be more helpful than not to do this?” Rose said, explaining the purpose of the study.
Rose said deer health is crucial for the state’s hunting industry.
“It brings a lot of tourism money into our state,” he said. “It’s an economic sector unto itself, and so we want to make sure that our herd population is healthful.”
Rose said the idea created a lot of controversy with hunters, animal rights advocates and others.
“Lies, innuendo, falsehoods that opponents had put out about this bill when at the end of the day, all it is is a study.”
He said he sponsored the bill at the request of constituents who were concerned about deer herd health.
“The bill was designed to allow the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and the Prairie Research Institute of the University of Illinois jointly to answer that question,” Rose said.
Rauner said the scope of the study is too broad, and that the bill needed to spell out how the state Department of Natural Resources would be involved. Rose said he’s not sure yet if he’ll try to rework the bill.