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Burning up in smoke at Deer & Tick meeting

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
A deer brushing against a permetrin soaked post as it feeds at a 4-poster unit.

A proposal to have the town begin burning open spaces for ticks was rejected by the Deer and Tick Committee at an April 3 meeting.

The motion was made by committee member Henry Amann who said that “90 percent of the people I talk to are in favor of burning.”

All other members of the committee voted against burning.

“Burning causes lots of ecological damage to the forests,” member Craig Wood said.

“And it’s a short-term thing lasting only for a year,” Chairman Jim Bevilacqua added.

After evaluating a host of literature, and a lengthy discussion covering all angles of the pros and cons of burning, the committee voted not to pursue the idea at this time for several reasons, including damages to property, the duration of burning and staffing of controlled burns. It was not a decision lightly made, but came after much deliberation.

Dr. Bevilacqua noted, however, that homeowners may burn on their own property, provided they follow required steps.
The 4-posters — feeding stands that brush deer with a tickicide, permethrin — will be used again this season to control the tick population, as they have been for more than a decade, the committee reported. Animal Control Officer Beau Payne noted that there will be 37 4-posters set up this year, adding that they will be in place over the next few weeks.

Officer Payne also reported that 509 deer have been killed this past season, compared with 554 last year. Eighty-four of the deer were taken from 21 town-owned properties by hunters who are part of the nuisance wildlife control officer program.

Officer Payne said the challenge is to get the deer population down from 90 or 100 per square mile. The town is currently working to get to 50 deer per square mile. He also reported that 214 carcasses were stored in the town’s cooler and that 2,900 pounds of venison had been donated to charitable organizations and were available to residents at a refrigerator unit at the Recycling Center.

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