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evil (DeNicola) animal serial killer now in Maine

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  • Pat Scala
    Submit letters to: letters@blockislandtimes.com http://www.blockislandtimes.com/articles/2008/07/29/news/news2.txt#blogcomme nts Monhegan deer eradication
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2008
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      http://www.blockislandtimes.com/articles/2008/07/29/news/news2.txt#blogcomme
      nts

      Monhegan deer eradication tantalizes B.I.

      By Read Kingsbury . Monday, July 28, 2008 2:41 PM EDT

      On Monhegan Island, a little rock of a place 10 miles off the coast of
      Maine, Dr. Anthony DeNicola and his White Buffalo Inc. employees removed
      more than 100 deer between 1996-1999.

      Getting the last of the herd, usually very difficult, proved to be easier
      than expected, he said in a phone interview.

      "There was a fresh snow and we flew up there right away," he said. "We found
      the tracks of a doe and two fawn and before long we found them."

      Deer had been brought to Monhegan in 1955 and the herd had grown to become a
      great nuisance, gnawing away at gardens and vegetation and spreading
      tick-borne Lyme disease. The incidence of the disease had grown to about 13
      percent and the residents, after furious debate, decided the deer had to go.
      So White Buffalo of Hamden, Conn., was hired to track, bait, spotlight and
      shoot down the entire herd.

      White Buffalo shooters removed 72 deer the first year, 35 the second and six
      the third. What followed was a short surge in Lyme disease and then a
      precipitous decline. Today, it's reported, the incidence of Lyme disease is
      practically nil.

      And some Block Islanders are asking, "If it worked on Monhegan Island, why
      not here?"

      The Block Island Residents Association asked that question in 1999 and
      invited DeNicola to visit the island. He submitted a proposal; it includes
      the work of five people six months a year for four years, three vehicles,
      lodging, ferry trips, helicopter surveys and dogs in years three and four.
      The total was $1.4 million - at which point the conversation about
      eradication of deer ended on Block Island, for a while at least.

      DeNicola said that number would be about $2 million today.

      Why was eradication feasible on Monhegan and not on Block Island?

      In the first place, there were only about 60 or 70 year-round residents on
      Monhegan and "not many structures," DeNicola said. In the second place,
      Monhegan is a little less than one square mile, compared to Block Island's
      10. In the third place, the island cover was mostly evergreen forest, while
      Block Island has much brush to provide shelter for deer.

      In the fourth place, "there were no restrictions on where we could go" in
      pursuit of the deer, DeNicola said.

      And a final difference: on Monhegan he and his crew had permission to use
      methods outlawed under normal hunting rules - rules which many states, and
      definitely Rhode Island, are loath to bend.

      Pigs, goats, deer

      DeNicola has worked in many settings, with great success. His firm has rid
      Santa Cruz Island off the West Coast, about 75 square miles, of its feral
      pigs, which were destroying the environment. What made it work, DeNicola
      said, was that he had to deal with only two landowners, the National Park
      Service and The Nature Conservancy.

      White Buffalo also cleared Catalina Island of hundreds of feral pigs and
      goats that were uprooting everything. It has managed deer reduction programs
      in a dozen states, deer capture programs, deer fertility programs.
      DeNicola's manual, "Managing White Tailed Deer in Suburban Environments"
      (available through Cornell Cooperative Extension) remains the basic
      technical guide on the subject, he says. His expertise is in constant
      demand; this month he will be a panelist in a Missouri community beset by
      deer.

      Currently, DeNicola said, he is involved in a project that he believes will
      make the 4-poster system more cost effective. The system treats the necks of
      deer with a pesticide when they come to eat at a feeding station; the
      pesticide kills the ticks. "It works," DeNicola said, "but it's too costly
      and labor-intensive for widespread use. You have to feed corn for five
      months a year." The goal of the new project is to reduce both labor and cost
      to what communities can afford.

      Recreation or health hazard

      As for Block Island, "things don't happen overnight," DeNicola said.
      "Nothing can be done as long as the state fish and wildlife people treat
      deer as a resource for recreational hunters." And that has been the case in
      Rhode Island for years, as Block Island knows from its failed efforts to get
      state permission to treat deer as a health hazard.

      Many communities see deer as a threat to health, through Lyme disease. But
      to conservationists, the threat to the environment of too many deer is
      equally serious. Here's a New Jersey Conservation Foundation scientist,
      writing in the New York Times:

      "This uncontrolled population explosion of deer has led to the conversion of
      our forests to a collection of alien weeds and vines in the understory, in
      which there is absolutely no reproduction of native woody trees and shrubs
      or herbaceous wildflowers. Our native forests and associated biodiversity
      will melt away . . ." Among the victims, through loss of habitat, is much
      birdlife.

      And here, from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, is what that
      state has done: "In an effort to limit deer populations in those areas of
      New Jersey where sport hunting is not considered a viable management tool,
      the division has permitted alternative methods of controlling deer
      populations under the Community-Based Deer Management Permit (CBDMP)
      program. The program was created in 1995 to explore alternative methods of
      deer population control.

      "Alternative control methods ... may include, but need not be limited to,
      controlled hunting, shooting by an authorized agent, capture and
      euthanization, capture and removal, and fertility control. The program
      allows townships, airports and County Boards of Agriculture to apply for a
      permit issued by the division that would allow these alternative control
      methods."

      Loosening the rules

      New Jersey loosened its shooting rules under intense pressure on the state
      legislature by citizens of deer-beleaguered communities, DeNicola said.
      Today six or eight communities and counties take advantage of the alternate
      deer control methods, he said.

      One is Princeton Township, which had an estimated 1,600 deer and more than
      300 deer were being killed in auto collisions each year. It hired White
      Buffalo to whittle the herd down to 20 per square mile. A small group
      bitterly opposed the hunt, went to court, and took various nastier measures.
      Township officials were abused, White Buffalo operations were disrupted and
      its truck tires were slashed. But after several years the herd was reduced
      to about 350 and deer-auto collisions were reduced by 80 percent.

      To continue the management plan, "bowhunters take 50 to 70 deer and then we
      come in to remove 100 to 125," DeNicola said. Township officials said they
      paid White Buffalo $54,250 last year to kill 126 deer.

      Other states are loosening the rules too. Suburbs around Washington, D.C.,
      Detroit and Philadelphia are hiring sharpshooters to reduce their deer
      herds. Winnebago County in Illinois hired shooters to manage the herd on
      county preserves. In Connecticut, some towns are devising deer control
      programs. Greenwich, with special dispensation from the state fish and
      wildlife division, hired White Buffalo in 2004 to kill deer for four nights
      - they got 80.

      These numbers are puny compared to the deer kill by state and federal
      sharpshooters in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where authorities are anxious to
      reduce the deer herds in order to control the spread of chronic wasting
      disease and bovine tuberculosis. In one northern Minnesota hunt alone,
      sharpshooters killed 962 deer this spring, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
      reported.

      Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife and Block Island
      remain at loggerheads, the state unwilling to bend its rules about how deer
      may be shot, the island unwilling to risk the hazards of a widespread deer
      reduction program.





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