Deer culling project delayed
Just four days before a program to reduce Block Island's deer was supposed to begin, it was delayed for a year.
First Warden Kim Gaffett made this announcement at a Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 19. She said she was approached by White Buffalo, the company contracted to cull the deer, which asked the project scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24, be postponed. According to Gaffett, White Buffalo President Anthony Denicola has "grave reservations" about the deer culling.
The Town Council agenda did not allow for a formal vote, but councilors agreed in concept to delay the project and will take formal action at a meeting Friday, Feb. 21, at noon.
“[Denicola] amounted to grave reservations about the effectiveness of the cull,” Gaffett said. “He was concerned he wouldn't get enough deer, and suggested that we perhaps reschedule the cull for another time. In the long term we can correct things that could be done better.”
When approached later by The Block Island Times, Denicola said he was concerned about the announcement made last week that White Buffalo would not be allowed to use suppressors on its weapons. A suppressor is a device attached to a firearm that reduces the noise produced by the firearm, and it is illegal in Rhode Island. While the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) initially thought White Buffalo would be exempt from this law, this was not the case.
"The biggest issue was the more recent decision that we would not be able to use suppressed firearms. That initiated the discussions on postponing the hunt," Denicola said. "That was an unpleasant surprise. I was under the impression there was an ability to exempt us, but it was told to us a week and a half ago that we wouldn't be exempt."
For more on this story, see Friday's edition of The Block Island Times.