The Block Island Times
http://block-island.villagesoup.com/p/986376

DTF to form citizen’s group on night hunt

Designed to educate the public
By Judy Tierney | Apr 17, 2013
Source: File photo

The Deer Task Force (DTF) will form a citizen’s support group to help educate the public about the safety of carrying out a night hunt to reduce the island’s deer population.

While the DTF discussed its plan, the members simultaneously waited for the Town Council, which was meeting in another room, to decide whether or not to include the $12,500 in funding needed for the managed hunt in the town budget. The group learned the funding was included in the 2013-2014 budget, but would require public approval at the town’s annual finance meeting on May 6.

The DTF hopes its education campaign will help garner public support for the controversial night hunt. DTF member Paul Deane, a hunter and police officer, commented that “if we can get this done, we will only need a three week hunting season [to manage the deer herd]. We have five months now.”

Member Sara McGinnes acknowledged the DTF needs to assure the community about the safety of the hunt. Residents have expressed their concerns about hunting being carried out at night, some of which may occur on private property.

The DTF still needs to gain an exemption to the state’s hunting rules from the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). Three members of the task force will meet with Catherine Sparks, Assistant Director for Natural Resources for the Forest Division of the DEM, on April 17. If DEM approval is obtained, the DTF will provide further safety details about the hunt.

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