The annual deer hunting season is gearing up on Block Island. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza tells us, the hunt on the Black Rock/Rodman Hollow parcel of land opens on Jan. 20.
The Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will set up a deer checking station at the Block Island Police Station in preparation for next week. The hunting season opens Jan. 20 and lasts until Feb. 13. This deer checking station will be open on certain days during the season to check deer taken by hunters.
Starting Tuesday, the second annual state managed deer hunt will be held on Block Island.
It’s the only hunt of its kind on state-owned land.
The four week hunt takes place on a one-hundred fifteen acre parcel of state-owned land known as Black Rock.
Any Rhode Islander with a state hunting license is eligible to take part in the hunt. However only six hunters will be allowed on the property per day; they’ll be chosen via a lottery system. The bag limit is eight deer per hunter.
The state Department of Environmental Management has announced plans to cull the population of Virginia white-tailed deer on Block Island.
The density of white-tailed deer on Block Island is estimated at 80 to 100 per square mile. That’s eight to ten times the desirable level so the state Department of Environmental Management has decided to cull the herd.
The DEM’s Catherine Sparks says they’ll hire professional sharp shooters to kill some of the deer early next year.
But it's no laughing matter, says Tom Mather, resident tick expert at the University of Rhode Island. Fall means the return of disease-carrying deer ticks for a bit before the coldest temperatures finally send them underground. And that means there's still a risk of catching Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
Block Island Health Service officials say the state Department of Health has agreed to meet with them about the steep increase in Lyme disease on the island. Island officials want the state to take a more active role in fighting the disease.
Block Island Health Services officials say they’ve seen 68 cases of Lyme disease through August of this year. That’s up from 48 for all of the previous year. Health service head Barbara Baldwin says she decided it was time to ask for some help.