Letter: Hunting and boating together in Barrington

Posted 1/10/20

To the editor:

Let me ask a stupid question. Would you take your family out boating in the same cove that is also being used by hunters to shoot water fowl? Of course not, but that's exactly …

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Letter: Hunting and boating together in Barrington


To the editor:

Let me ask a stupid question. Would you take your family out boating in the same cove that is also being used by hunters to shoot water fowl? Of course not, but that's exactly what's proposed with the development of Walker Farm. Combining boating and hunting is wildly reckless, frighteningly irresponsible, and something that has haunted this town for decades despite widespread opposition.

Before yoga pants this was a pet peeve of mine. I've had several meeting with the DEM and public officials about this issue. The DEM creates hunting areas with its rules and regulations. According to the R.I. State Constitution, DEM's rules and regulations are construed as law, in other words, they are law. The state legislature, our democratic process for making laws, is completely bypassed. The citizens of R.I. have no impact in the process because there is no vote. There is no, "We The People" just The DEM dictating dangerous laws with no due process for the sake of hunting. 

The DEM allows water fowl hunting in 100 Acre Cove from October to February as long as it's not within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling. However, if you are in a car or a boat you are "shot out of luck". A bullet can pass right over your head, which happens, and it's totally legal thanks to the DEM and its "laws". 

I have worked to raise the distance to 1,000 feet from a dwelling and to wisely include recreational vehicles i.e. boats and trailers. That would effectively end hunting in 100 Acre Cove and other places in R.I. Absolutely no politician wants to do that, but they don't have to. Remember, the DEM does not require a long legislature voting process to make law, they just make it. Ending hunting in 100 Acre Cove could be done tomorrow with the stroke of a pen if the DEM wanted to but they don't. 

The DEM is not capable of responsibly managing the hunting in 100 Acre Cove. With only 19 field officers covering three shifts daily, seven days a week, there is only two or three on duty at any one time for the entire state with over 400 miles of coastline, hundreds of lakes, rivers and ponds, and thousands of acres of parkland. There is no one patrolling 100 Acre Cove so there is no enforcement of hunting laws. 

I've been at Walker Farm and photographed hunters illegally using town property for hunting then urinating in the bushes. I reported this several times to the Barrington Police who did nothing and then told me to stop calling, basically, "or else".

The DEM stopped returning my calls as did Senator Coyne, Gina Raimondo, the entire Barrington Town Council, and all major local TV and newspaper reporters many of whom live in Barrington. Make no mistake about it, preserving hunting in Barrington is more important to our public officials then our safety or this would not exist.

Hunting is one of the safest sports, far safer that equestrians, boating, and even golf with heart attacks, lightning strikes, and head injuries causing more deaths than hunting. However, if my horse kicks me in the head, I assumed that risk when I decided to engage in the sport. Hunting isn't like that. Everyone within proximity is at risk no matter what they're doing.

Combining hunting and boating is a delusional and deadly concept that Barrington has willingly hosted for decades. Hunting is just a game. No one needs to hunt in 100 Acre Cove to eat. Play that game somewhere else where innocent people are not at risk. Also DEM, don't force dangerous, made-up laws on us like dictators do. It's profoundly and fundamentally wrong in this country.

Today (Dec. 28) is a beautiful, sunny 50 degree day. I'd love to go canoeing in 100 Acre Cove but not with gunshots booming overhead. Will hunters be illegally using Walker Farm for hunting while families are afraid to go boating there? One thing's for sure, the Barrington Police don't care. Sleep tight Barrington.

Bang Bang

Alan Sorrentino


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