Letter: Hunting will not solve Bristol’s deer problem

Posted 11/9/23

Ask the non-hunters from Prudence Island, Block Island, S. Kingstown, Burrillville, etc., if it solved the problem of overpopulation of deer. The answer is a resounding no.

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Letter: Hunting will not solve Bristol’s deer problem


To the editor:

“If you want to understand any problem in America, you need to look at who profits from that problem, not at who suffers from that problem.”
-Dr. Amos Wilson

The RI Department of Environmental Management profits because they receive federal matching dollars from hunting licenses and other hunting related purchases. It’s 99.7% of the population of non-hunters that reside in Bristol that will suffer.

On average 2,214 deer are killed by hunters every year in RI; consequently, over 44,000 deer would have been killed by hunters throughout RI in the last 20 years.

Ask the non-hunters from Prudence Island, Block Island, S. Kingstown, Burrillville, etc., if it solved the problem of overpopulation of deer. The answer is a resounding no.

There have been deer in Warwick and East Providence for decades, but without a deer hunting season they have managed not to be overrun by deer?

Do Bristol officials know about the bounce-back element in deer populations after a hunting season? When there is an abundance of food, female deer may have two to three babies so the number of deer may, in fact, increase until more hunters kill more deer resulting in still more deer being born.

The RI Department of Environmental Management uses this factor to justify more hunting seasons pleasing hunters while never relieving communities of an overpopulation problem.

Rhode Island normally has around 1,018.1 people per sq. mile while Bristol has 2,224 people per sq. mile. Has the safety issue been considered by the Bristol Town Council?

RIDEM points to the deer mating season as a main factor in deer/auto collisions. However, it is the combination of the deer mating season and hunting season being held at the same time that increases deer crossing roadways.

By increasing hunting in Bristol, the town will have an increase in deer/auto accidents, not less accidents.

Rhode Island only requires vehicle liability insurance not comprehensive insurance. Consequently, most Bristol drivers will have to pay out of pocket for deer collisions.

Last year, Bristol had 59 deer/auto collisions compared to South Kingstown’s 112. Since Bristol chose to increase deer hunting, it can expect a dramatic increase in collisions.

Killing more deer is not going to cut down on humans getting Lyme disease. It’s not just deer that carry deer ticks. Mice, shrews, chipmunks, and birds may be infected with Lyme disease and will transmit it to a biting tick.

Furthermore, bow hunting is considered cruel, even by other hunters that don’t use bows and arrows.

Studies have proven that the number of unrecovered wounded deer has been high in Texas, Michigan, South Carolina, Georgia, Vermont, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana. RIDEM claims that it is low in RI. Are they really trying to convince us that RI hunters are more accurate than the hunters in other states?

Wounded deer are going to leave town property and wander off as they bleed to death in private yards where children could see a deer bleed to death in their own backyards.

Dennis Tabella
Director, Defenders of Animals, Inc.

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