MILTON (CBS) — Tuesday marked the second day of a controversial deer hunt in the Blue Hills Reservation, one that state conservation officials said is necessary to thin out the herd.
On Monday, the first hunt in the reservation since 1893 saw 26 deer killed by hunters.
“This is not an option I think any of us would wish for, but in the context of a lot of bad options, this was viewed by most people as the best,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
Baker said eight-to-ten deer per square mile is considered a healthy amount, but that recent studies showed there were around 80 deer per square mile in the reservation.
“There are public health issues associated with doing nothing,” Baker said. “It would be a horrible circumstance for the deer, because there wouldn’t be enough food for them to eat, and a whole bunch of them would end up dying a pretty horrible death this winter.”
But several animal rights groups oppose the hunt. Among those criticizing the state for the decision to organize the hunt is Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Devaney.
“It’s been 122 years–1893–since they did something so barbaric,” said Devaney.
She said she wishes Baker and state conservation experts would have at least delayed the hunt in order to consider more humane and scientific methods, such as sterilization and oral contraception.
“We haven’t had any public meetings or any kind of a discussion to see what the alternatives are instead of slaughtering these deer,” said Devaney.
The controlled hunt will continue for two more days on Monday, December 7 and Tuesday, December 8.