The Block Island Times

Deer culling project delayed

By Stephanie Turaj | Feb 20, 2014

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.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Thomas Walsh | Feb 20, 2014 17:21

A great waste of money have been adverted. There is nothing like great news to brighten the day. May they never return. Good Bye, Good Riddance. Don't let the door hit you in the ... on the way out!

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Posted by: Robert Pierce Forbes | Feb 21, 2014 09:46

Look, it's clear that this project is going nowhere. It's time for the Town Council to investigate immunocontraception. This is being tried in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY; it will work much better on an island.  See the NYTimes article:

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Posted by: William McKernan | Feb 22, 2014 08:19

Very unfortunate. This is an effective method. Disease and habitat destruction will continue as a result.

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Posted by: elisa stufano conte | Mar 13, 2014 11:46


1  Deer culling is based on outdated science. 

2  New studies show reducing or eradicating deer does not reduce or           eradicate the spread of lyme disease, actually just the OPPOSITE!

3 Evidence indicates Deer are dead end hosts for the Black- legged tick      carrying the disease agent Bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi, "Lyme            disease", because they are immune and do not pass on the                        infectious disease. 

4 Deer are actually helpful in the reduction of the                                         infectious adult ticks by their excellent  grooming habits and prove           actually buffers to humans.

5  Evidence shows Culling is ineffective because the adult ticks do               not become infected by feeding on deer, and the uninfected ticks               actually drop off or are groomed of questing winter ticks in Autumn         before hunting seasons.

6  Eliminating deer will only increase and exasperate "hot spots" for the       adult ticks who feed on the deer, because they will find other hosts that     ARE NOT immune to the Bacterium, humans being one of them.

7  The white-footed mouse and small mammals are the primary host and        infected carriers of the Bacterium Borrelia ticks.

8  There is an explosion of numbers of white footed mice because of the       decline and elimination of predators particularly the red fox who feed       on small mammals. All wild creatures are host or carriers including           birds, domestic animals and pets.

9 There is an unethical morality to shoot deer that have grown up around     the presence of humans and are unaccustomed to fear humans.

10 With education and the FACTS, not fear, the good residents of Block       Island and beyond will reject, in dollars and "SENSE", the                       the unethical and senseless war on this beautiful and environmentally       important species. 

Elisa Conte, Jamestown ri

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Posted by: Thomas Walsh | Mar 24, 2014 12:24

I was just visiting a friend in Golden Colorado. There are huge herds of both Mule Deer and Elk roaming all around the houses. The residents love them they do not care that they browse next to and around their homes. The plant what the animals do not like or fence in what they do. Not an easy task to keep a 1000 lb bull elk out of something he wants. They love to watch them because of their beauty. It is illegal to shoot one and you will be fined and perhaps even go to jail if caught. That is only if you are lucky enough not to be caught by the local home owners who would probably kill you and dump you in a canyon. Why is it that Block Islanders who embrace all thing "nature" can only think ways to slaughter the deer here?

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