Reducing the herd

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 8:15pm

There has been a letter writing campaign by some Block Island homeowners and residents asking the Deer Task Force to look into additional ways to once again reduce the deer population in some significant manner.

There should be, first, a deer count done sometime during the winter. Rather than speculate on the numbers, getting an accurate (as possible) count of the deer population seems to be a good idea. It does seem reasonable to believe that the deer population is on the rise. One was spotted bounding over the fence at Harbor Church on a busy summer day.

Once we know the number, then a plan of action can be formulated. This is not just about Lyme disease — although this is a significant factor for the people who are concerned about a rising deer population. It is also about maintaining a healthy herd.

One myth should be dispelled: the deer cannot be eliminated. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management owns the deer, and have mandated that the deer cannot be reduced to zero. Hunting is a popular sport on Block Island, and that must be maintained.

But it does seem time that the members of the Deer Task Force — who are all well aware of the issue, with some members expressing frustration there has not been a count in recent years — should look into scheduling a deer count this winter and engage in a public discussion about what to do next.