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Protesters Gather To Demonstrate Against Proposed Deer Hunting In Blue Hills Reservation

A deer captured at dusk in the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton.  In order to reduce their numbers, the state has approved four days of deer hunting at the reservation. (suzn80/flickr)
A deer captured at dusk in the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton. In order to reduce their numbers, the state has approved four days of deer hunting at the reservation. (suzn80/flickr)
This article is more than 4 years old.

Some residents and activists gathered in Canton Saturday to call upon the governor to shut down a proposed deer hunt in the Blue Hills Reservation.

About 30 people demonstrated along Route 138 in Canton to protest the hunt, which would mark the first time hunting deer was allowed at the reservation in more than 100 years.

Mark Thomas, of Canton, said at the protest that, as a hunter, he believes using a shotgun in that area is risky.

"Everything around here is rocks and hills. It's what the Blue Hills [Reservation] is — so when you shoot at that deer and you miss 'em, or hit, that bullet is going to go through, hit a rock and who knows where it's going to go," he said.

There will be 196 hunters allowed to participate in the event, which occurs over two weeks in late November and early December. State officials announced the hunt in October, saying the deer population in the area is far above an acceptable level and is leading to accidents between the animals and vehicles — as well as an increase in ticks and Lyme disease in humans.

Thomas said officials should have considered using alternative methods to control the deer population.

"Guns are like the last thing you'd want to use here to kill some of the deer ...If anything, you use a bow, because a bow, you're sitting in a tree, you're shooting down, you miss, that arrow's sticking in the ground," he said. "You hit a rock, that arrow might go 20 yards and it's done."

Steve Rayshick, organizer for Friends of the Blue Hills Deer, said he does not agree with the way in which the hunt was proposed and approved.

"It was sort of sprung on the public as a done deal," Rayshick said. "It had three meetings in which the public had 35 minutes to talk, so that's an hour and half, an hour and 45 minutes total. It's just very bad government to do things this way."

The planned hunt is expected to take place on 3,000 acres of the reservation from 5 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the dates of the hunt as weekend days. Both sets of dates for the hunt are scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays.

This article was originally published on November 08, 2015.

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