Federal government seeks comments for hunting proposal

At Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 5:15pm

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a plan to expand hunting to all of the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge’s 133 acres, and has opened up a public comment period until June 1. 

“Currently, there are white-tail deer hunting opportunities at Beane Point, Sandy Point, Grove Point and Wash Pond hunting units, with some season and weapons restrictions… The proposed hunt plan would open all of the Refuge’s 133 acres to white-tailed deer hunting with some season and weapons restrictions. In addition, Wash Pond Unit would open to migratory bird hunting (ducks, coot, and merganser). State safety regulations would apply” according to a statement by Fish and Wildlife Service.

Barbara MacMullan, Chair of The Land Trust, said the issue will be discussed at its next meeting on Thursday, May 21.

Details of the plan include:

• Beane Point and Sandy Point Units would match state regulations for hunting deer (October through February)

• Grove Point, Wash Pond, and Skippers Island Units would be open for archery only deer hunting, matching the state archery season (October through February)

• Wash Pond Unit would be open during the state migratory bird hunting season for duck, coot, and mergansers (October through January)

• No permits would be required. Hunters would download and sign a refuge hunting brochure for each season to serve as written permission to access refuge units for hunting

The Fish and Wildlife Service said the objectives of the program are to:

1. Provide the public with a high quality recreational experience on refuge lands and increase opportunities and access for hunters and anglers;

2. Design a hunting and fishing program that is administratively efficient, manageable, and aligns with state regulations when possible;

3. Implement a hunting and fishing program that is safe for all users;

4. Provide hunting and fishing opportunities for youth and those that need assistance;

5. Design a hunting and fishing program that aligns with refuge habitat management objectives.

Comments or questions can be emailed to rhodeislandcomplex@fws.gov or mailed to 50 Bend Road, Charlestown, R.I. 02813, attn.: Hunting/Fishing Plan