The vote may not be official because of a lack of a quorum, but three members present at Wednesday morning’s Deer & Tick meeting voted to pay Nuisance Wildlife Control Officers (NWCO) for their licenses and insurance if they participate in the February and March hunt on the Island.
On the Island, for those two months, the so-called “deer damage” or “nuisance” permit period takes place because the state allows communities extra time to control deer overpopulation and to hire NWCO to cull the herd.
The approximate cost is $200 for each license and an estimated $700 for insurance for each hunter.
Even though these hunters are paid, some have not participated in the past because of the high up-front cost of licensing and insurance.
Animal Control Officer Beau Payne said he expects to have four NWCO hunters participating in the February and March hunt. He will also be hunting nights during those months although, unlike the others NWCO licensed hunters, he will not receive any rewards for his participation.
The six-member committee started with three members present and member Chuck Tiernan on the telephone. But when the vote was taken, the connection to Mr. Tiernan had been dropped and, in any case, state law calls for a member’s vote to be counted only if that member can be visibly seen by the others in the room via Skype or a similar service.
Nonetheless, the action is expected to be taken in time for the beginning of the nuisance hunt on February 1. Other communities extend the nuisance hunt through the end of September, but concerned about safety for the Island’s increased population from early spring through at least the end of September, officials have chosen not to go beyond the March 31 date.
There has been talk about possibly allowing the hunt to continue after Labor Day weekend and run through the end of September with the usual recreational hunting season starting on October 1.