Little Compton considers allowing shooting on Sundays

Would be to allow pest control for farmers, not open season hunting

By Kristen Ray
Posted 9/17/20

LITTLE COMPTON – The ban on Sunday shooting could soon come to a close for farmers, but not everyone, in Little Compton. The town council mulled easing restrictions during their virtual meeting …

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Little Compton considers allowing shooting on Sundays

Would be to allow pest control for farmers, not open season hunting

Posted

LITTLE COMPTON – The ban on Sunday shooting could soon come to a close for farmers, but not everyone, in Little Compton. The town council mulled easing restrictions during their virtual meeting last Thursday, Sept. 10.

Though shooting of any kind on the first day of the week has long been prohibited under town code 3-5.6, council President Robert Mushen said they are considering an amendment to that rule after the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reached out to Chief of Police Scott Raynes this summer.

In DEM’s view, Mr. Mushen said, Sunday shooting would allow farmers greater more effective control options, preventing agricultural damage from birds and deer and reducing noise produced by crop cannons.

Several farmers tuned in to Thursday’s meeting to voice their support for such an amendment, still in the preliminary stages of discussion amongst the council.

“Anything that adds a tool to our tool kit is something that I would support,” said Rusty Cabot of White Rock Farm.

But both he and Skip Paul of Wishing Stone Farm encouraged the council to address carcass control if they were to make any changes to the existing ordinance, noting that a failure to remove dead wildlife from the premises could lead to an entirely different pest problem in Little Compton.

“We don’t need any larger population of coyotes in town than we already have,” Mr. Cabot said.

There is also a question of who could participate in Sunday shooting, added Randy Hathaway, stating that there is a big difference between pest control for farmers and open season hunting.

The latter, he feared, could lead to worsening land-owner relationships and the loss of hunting privileges in Little Compton, as has happened other towns such as Portsmouth and Tiverton after making similar adjustments.

“It’s a whole new, whole different ball game,” Mr. Hathaway said.

That would have to be “an important distinction,” agreed Mr. Mushen. To council vice president Paul Golembeske, the intent should be to limit Sunday shooting to just pest eradication for farmers. Without a formal proposal to weigh in on that night, however, the council voted unanimously to have Mr. Golembeske, Mr. Raynes, Town Administrator Tony Teixeira and the town solicitor return with a plan at a future meeting.

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