Dozens of people gathered outside a deer weigh station at Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts Monday afternoon protesting the first day of the first controlled deer hunt allowed on reservation property in more than a century.
Lindsey Young with the Friends of Blue Hills Deer said, "They're coming here looking for trophies, they're coming here looking to exercise some personal need to kill things."
Ingrid with the Friends of Blue Hills Deer said, "It's an outrageously cruel and unsportsmanlike way of controlling population numbers."
But state wildlife and conservation officials say the decision to allow the four day controlled hunt was made after an extensive study of the deer population, its impact on the ecosystem here, and on the nearby human population with concerns like Lyme disease.
DCR Deputy Commissioner Matthew Sisk said, "There's 85 per square mile, a healthy heard is considered between 7-14 per square mile, so clearly you can see the need for that."
State biologist David Stainbrook says officials explored all options including capture and release, fencing, contraception and sterilization
Stainbrook said, "If you were to start at this high of a number and think you were going to try to get down to that very low below 20 deer per square mile you might never be able to get to that."
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Joseph Sass is one of about about 200 hunters allowed to hunt up six deer in three thousand of the reservation's seven thousand acres.
Sass said, "We don't have predators like they do out west, we don't have the mountain lion, we don't have wolves, nor do I want those, what we do have is we have sportsmen and we can use them as a tool to control this population."
Denny Swenson, President of the Friends of the Blue Hills told NECN, "The neighborhood is dealing with an incredible rate of Lyme disease. We support the DCR. We believe they have done an exhaustive assessment of the situation and we are grateful they have accepted and acknowledged there's a problem."