Deer Task Force members to meet with DEM
The Deer Task Force plans to schedule a meeting with an official of the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to discuss strategies the task force has to reduce or completely eradicate deer on Block Island.
The group plans to send a finalized proposal to the Town Council about how to remove the deer, and is looking at strategies that include strategic shooting of the deer, baiting the deer or instating a bounty system.
But Deer Task Force members agreed at their Monday, March 11, meeting to first discuss with the DEM about which options may be best. Members also plan to propose that DEM conduct an aerial count of the deer on Block Island.
“If you don’t think you’re going to gain any DEM support, then we might as well just quit trying,” said Paul Deane, task force member. “We need to talk to them and find out what they may or may not participate in.”
Cathy Sparks, the state Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Forest Environment chief, will visit Block Island on Wednesday, March 20, to meet with the Town Council.
First Warden Kim Gaffett, who attended the Deer Task Force meeting, suggested that she arrange a separate meeting with members of the Deer Task Force. This will not be a public meeting; task force members agreed to send no more than three members to the meeting.
Task Force Member George Mellor said that he had a positive discussion with the new director of the Block Island Medical Center, Barbara Baldwin. He said that she seemed in support of removing the deer, but any endorsement from the Medical Center must go through the Block Island Health Services Board.
Also, task force member and Police Officer Paul Deane said that there were no safety issues with the two managed deer hunts that occurred on Block Island over the past two months.