The Land Trust on Block Island, Rhode Island, recently declared that the island will not be opened to deer hunters. This will make it much harder for the island’s Deer Task Force to control the large deer population in the area. The main issue seems to be differences in objectives between the task force and local conservation groups.
Though the Land Trust has not issued a written statement regarding the refusal, the entity is reportedly concerned about liability. It also determined that none of the lands under its control met the criteria for hunting set by local conservation groups. These groups control 43 percent of this island, leaving Chris Blane, one task force member to comment, “You’re at a standstill no matter what you do,” barring opening of the conservation lands.
Mr. Blane suggested that task force members join the conservation boards in order to have a say. As far as liability issues go, the concern may be related to a Newport case involving someone who fell from the cliff walk. The state limits private owner liability for recreational use of land but this case is still going to trial.
Hunting in Black Rock was shelved because it was too late to establish for this season. It was suggested that the task force resubmit their request in the spring because it takes up to eight months to establish a hunt by lottery. The task force would also like to have input regarding the management plan in Black Rock.
There is a possibility of opening hunting on U.S. Fish and Wildlife property in the area by the end of the upcoming hunting season. The task force will modify its proposal for conservation group review using a plan from 2000. A property owner information session regarding hunting regulations will be scheduled. Under review is the possibility of posting lists of local hunters, or homeowners allowing hunting on their properties.
Source: Tierney, Judy. The Block Island Times. Land Trust rejects deer hunting.