Fri, 02/28/2020 - 2:45pm

Addressing the deer issue

Another hunting season has come to a close, and another year has gone by with little or no headway made to reduce the deer herd on Block Island. The $150 deer tail fee made available to Block Island hunters does not seem to have been appealing enough for hunters to take more deer. There also seems to be no appetite for bringing in an outside company to cull the herd, as was tried four or five years ago.

What to do?

The first thing it seems to us is to get on the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to count the deer. There doesn’t seem to be any real agreement as to how many deer are on the island, which in and of itself is problematic. Biologists at the DEM should be asked to come out and count the deer as soon as possible.

The other thing is that the Town Council has approved two proposals made by the Deer Task Force that will go to the DEM. One proposal is to eliminate the cap on the number of bucks that can be taken during the season. The maximum is now two. It should be unlimited. The other proposal is to allow archery hunting on Saturdays throughout the entire season, but that idea may be problematic for year-round island residents.

We hope that the DEM approves these modest proposals.

But we also ask the DEM to come out to the island to count the deer so that we will have a better idea where we stand in terms of the size of the herd, which will of course lead to be more intelligent responses to how to reduce the herd.