Hunters asked for deer cull plan
The Deer Task Force (DTF) met on Monday, June 9, to set dates for the 2014-2015 hunting season and to define the elements of a comprehensive “hybrid” deer reduction plan.
On the first item, the DTF voted to recommend that the dates be set (as shown below).
The proposed schedule will be considered and finalized by the Town Council before being forwarded to the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
On the second item, the results were inconclusive.
The “hybrid” plan could include both a contract with a professional company that provides culling services and also, in response to a request from local hunters, provide compensation to the local hunters for reducing the deer herd.
Task Force members came to the meeting expecting the local hunters to follow up on the items addressed during last month’s meeting and present specific recommendations for the hybrid plan. Items to be discussed include establishing qualifications for hunters, deciding what constituted a “local” hunter, what the payment should be for non-edible portions of deer killed, liability issues and securing lands for hunting. The DTF would then determine whether or not to recommend a professional cull.
DTF Chair Ruth Perfido expressed frustration that only one hunter, Chris Blane, was present. Hunter Christopher Blansfield, previously selected to coordinate the hunters, was absent.
Blane attributed the lack of attendance to the fact that the hunters had been unable to produce recommendations since last month’s meeting. Blane explained that the local hunters are busy in their preparations for a hectic summer season and that creating detailed hunting recommendations is difficult for them at this time.
Perfido said that the hunters must produce a complete and detailed set of recommendations if they wish to be included in the coming season’s “hybrid” project. The DTF must, in turn, work with the DEM to secure approval for the final plan before the beginning of the hunting season.
Audience member Pat Doyle said that she was “stunned” to see that only one hunter was present at the meeting. While the joint meeting of the Task Force and the Town Council held several weeks ago achieved remarkable consensus on a “hybrid” plan to include local hunters, it now appeared that no progress was being made. She felt that the community had “gone out on a limb” to support the hunters and was disappointed to observe that no plan was forthcoming from this group.
Blane provided a brief account regarding the benefits of volunteer-run check stations to determine the deer count in the past and asserted that their use this season would greatly improve the accuracy of the estimated island deer population. He asserted that, in the past, the check stations provided good, accurate numbers on deer taken and vital information on the health of the herd. He suggested that it would be possible to implement a paperless electronic check system that hunters and volunteer station operators could then upload as an application onto their smartphones. The cost would be minimal.
Other discussion centered on the desirability of surveys to determine the size of the herd. The options include infra red surveys or fly-overs done by the DEM. The fly-overs are used to gather an accurate estimate of remaining deer on the island.
The use of the fly-overs proved to be a point of contention between the task force members and Blane. The DTF maintained that that the fly-overs are the best and most accurate method for determining the estimated deer population, but Blane questioned their accuracy. Blane suggested that local hunters are convinced that the number of deer on the island is far less than in previous years due to the successful hunting season.
The next Deer Task Force meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 14. Members of the DTF agreed that if any of the local hunters would like to hold a discussion before this date they would be willing to reinstate the cancelled June 23 meeting.
The DTF voted to recommend that the dates be set as follows.
Archery: October 14 -17, 20, 21 - 24, 27 - 30
Archery, Shotgun, Muzzleloader:
Nov. 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12 - 14, 17 - 21, 24, 25
December 1 - 5, 8 - 12, 15, 16, 18, 19
January 2, 5 - 9, 12 - 16, 20 - 23, 26 - 30
February 2 - 6, 9 - 13, 17 - 20, 23 - 27
Pheasant dates: Nov. 26, Dec. 17, 24
Their recommendation will now be considered and finalized by the Town Council before being forwarded to the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).