Couple claims misunderstanding in hunter harassment arrest.
A population control deer hunt in Massachusetts has drawn harsh criticisms from the anti-hunting crowd. And now, two men have been arrested for attempting to disrupt the hunt.
Around 80 hunters were randomly selected to take part in a hunt in the Blue Hills Reservation in Quincy, Massachusetts after wildlife officials determined the deer population was too high. The decision was met with much controversy, as a group called Friends of the Blue Hills Deer, protested in the weeks leading up to the hunt.
The hunt started on Monday and hunters took 26 deer from the reservation without incident.
But on Tuesday, two people allegedly took things a step farther and attempted to ruin the hunt. Authorities are taking the incident seriously and say Erin Dart and Jonathan DiNapoli were purposely making noise in an attempt to disrupt the hunt.
“Their intent was to disturb and disrupt the hunting activity,” David Traub, spokesman for Northfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey told the Boston Globe.
The reservation is filled with hiking trails that are remaining open throughout the hunt. And the arrested couple is claiming they were not intentionally trying to disrupt the hunt. They told the Boston Globe they hike through the reservation every week and were whistling because they feared being mistaken for deer.
“We were simply making our presence know,” DiNapoli told the Boston Globe. “We were trying to not get killed.”
It will remain to see if authorities buy their story. The couple is scheduled to be arraigned in Quincy District Court December 17.
One thing is for sure, the arrest is not likely to ease tensions between protesters and hunters as the hunting in Blue Hills continues. Despite the arrest, hunters took an additional 15 deer Tuesday to bring the number culled up to 41.
Protesters of the hunts staged outside of a check area Monday and planned candlelight vigils for deer. The hunts will continue through December 13.