DEM Deer CountStill multiplying
DEM Assistant Director Catherine Sparks brought numbers from this year’s deer hunt and deer count when she visited Block Island Wednesday. She reported that 198 deer were taken in the 2012-2013 hunt. Of those, 20 were from Black Rock/Rodman’s Hollow, which was opened to six hunters per week for four weeks as a pilot project.
Sparks said the DEM feels the pilot project was successful, though the numbers were diminished by heavy weather. “Hunters were positive about the island and liked the terrain. They had a good success rate.”
The number of law enforcement officers who monitored the hunt was lower than DEM had hoped. Poor weather prohibited them from taking their own boat and the ferry schedule also kept them from coming more than once a week.
An aerial survey on January 28 found 71 deer per mile. DEM officer Brian Teft conducted it, and he used a conversion factor to include the deer he did not see, resulting in an estimate of 100 deer per square mile. In 2011 that count was 50 per square mile. Sparks attributed the increase to a mild winter in 2012 which resulted in healthy deer and multiple births. “We recognize this is a problem,” she said.