Thu, 01/11/2018 - 8:45pm

To the Editor:

"Junior hunting,” "Kids’ Day," "Something for them to do on the island" — have people lost their minds? Have we become so obsessed with Lyme disease that we now have to train our kids to kill for fun?

The Deer Task Force already has a bleak record for deer control. Spending thousands on an ill-advised professional hunt that failed, then promised to pay the mercenaries $150 per tail out of private funds, but now the group wants public funds. There were more members of the DTF at one point than there were gardeners, who hate deer, than hunters, probably supporting gun control but voted to bring in the automatic weapons to disencumber the herd. Now most DTF members are hunters rather than gardeners and so we have the proposed “Kid's Day." More alarming is the date, which is the week when school is out in February. That was at least one week during the winter when we could at least hike this beautiful island in winter as is advertised in travel magazines. You can still hike, walk and enjoy the bounty on weekends, but that’s taking a chance. During the week you can’t wear enough international orange to protect yourself, so we don’t go out. It’s crazy. Word is that few complaints, if any, exist about the Block Island hunting. Few people complain out here because it is an older population and they are afraid to. That doesn't include me.

Block Island is almost 50 percent conserved land on which we have multiple programs fostering and nurturing nature, protecting wildlife and its wonders, especially for children and their future. Do we want to add "hunting programs for children" for the world to see?

I have no problem with kids learning to handle firearms. Better than learning the wrong way. I support the Second Amendment whole heartedly. I learned how to fire a shotgun at 10 years old and unfortunately learned how to kill years later with a weapon in Vietnam. It is hypocritical to now train Block Island children 12 to 14 years old, or any children for that matter, to kill for fun. That’s exactly what it is, and it is preposterous. For those that say they eat venison, I say chicken is $.99 a pound at Stop & Shop. 

Set up a shooting range, or have gun classes, but children hunting on Block Island is insane. The deer will probably still be here as the children of Block Island grow older and ticks will still be here long after the DTF is dismantled, whether the deer are here or not.

John Willis

Beacon Hollow Farm