Deer hunt is about the money
The Town Council gave their approval to hunting at Beavertail Park last Monday evening. After hearing that the Jamestown Town Council was irritated by their "no show" the week before despite being on the agenda, the DEM brought their two top administrators with them to be sure that they got the approval of the Town Council. The Town Council
did allow Chris Savastano to speak as chairman of the Town Council- appointed Wildlife Committee. He was adamantly opposed, and questioned the validity of the information being presented. Mr. Frank Meyer of the Beavertail advisory committee was also allowed to speak, and he also was opposed. He quoted legal issues which contradict such an action without the
"consultation" of this group and the DEM, which did not occur. I guess this did not matter to the Town Council.
More than 50 residents came to this meeting, most of them opposed to hunting at Beavertail, but they were not allowed to ask any questions of DEM. The Town Council heard the DEM acknowledge that there are probably less than 20 deer in this area (compared to the 400 or so island wide), and that this would most likely be an annual event. Not once in the presentation did the DEM mention Lyme disease, one of the two reasons given to the National Park Service to get permission to have this hunt. (The DEM knows that killing a small number of deer will do nothing to prevent Lyme disease in Jamestown; at least 300 deer would have to be eliminated to do that!) At least one of the Town Council members said he went up to the proposed hunting area and did not see any evidence of plant damage by the deer. This was the other reason given for this hunt.
So what is the real reason DEM wants to hunt at Beavertail park? Money. Under the Robinson- Pittman Act, the DEM can add to their budgets all monies collected from licenses and tags. A hunting license costs $18 a season for a resident and $45 for a non- resident. If the park is open to hunting to 10 different hunters a day for 66 days then the DEM will collect anywhere from $11,000 from RI residents up to $31, 000 (out-of-state hunters) just on licenses alone. Add to that the $12.50 fee for a deer tag that RI residents will spend or $25 for out of state residents. Each hunter will purchase at least one tag adding another $7,000 to the DEM's coffers. And every weapon, coat, hat, and equipment used to hunt is heavily taxed, and this also goes to the DEM. These numbers are a bit inflated because rarely will 10 hunters a day want to hunt on an area less than a square mile wide, but they do demonstrate why the DEM really wants to encourage hunting.
So who pays the real price for this? Someone who is enjoying the peaceful environment of Beavertail park who may witness a wounded deer stumbling out of the brush or worse, being dragged out dead for all to see. Who wants to see that? Beavertail park will never be the same!