Overpopulated with deer, Rhode Island’s Block Island begins successful bounty program to get help from hunters.
Rhode Island has an extremely large deer population, as well as a growing Lyme disease problem caused by the ticks the deer carry. The state desperately needed help to quickly bring the population number down.
The Department of Environmental Management originally planned to pay a sharpshooting company, White Buffalo Inc., $128,000 to kill 200 deer. This plan fell through and left them to figure out a new way to handle the problem.
The state soon began offering resident hunters $150 per deer. This put hunters into high gear. Soon, far more deer were taken for far less than what the state would have paid White Buffalo Inc. to do the job.
Based on this high success rate, Block Island plans to use the deer bounty again next season to continue successful population control.
Town manager Nancy Dodge told Rhode Island public radio, “It’s going to be a process that’s going to take a couple of years. The deer task force has gotten enough donations from people to be able to sponsor it a second time this coming year. And we’ll take it year by year and see.”