Although frost still covers the ground some mornings, Island boards of health already have their focus turned towards summer and tick season.

At last week’s All-Island Selectmen’s meeting, Tisbury health commissioner Michael Loberg and Edgartown health agent Matthew Poole presented their annual year-end report for the Tick-Borne Illness Reduction Initiative, a five-year study funded by a grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. The study has just completed its second year.

In an attempt to quantify the Vineyard deer population, a Mount Holyoke College professor flew across the Island last Friday afternoon taking thousands of aerial infrared photographs for a tick-borne illness study. While a snowy, 20 degree day on Martha’s Vineyard may not be most visitors’ optimal conditions for a flight around the Island, professor of geography Thomas Millette deemed Friday’s weather ideal. A frozen ground, calm winds and an overcast sky all optimize the efficiency of the thermal imaging system developed by Mr. Millette.


Next week the deer hunting season shifts from bow and arrow to shotgun.

“You are up close and personal when you are in archery season, at 20, maybe 30 yards away,” said Walter Ashley, an experienced hunter on the Island. “With a shotgun, it’s not so critical.”

Mr. Ashley has been hunting for nearly 50 years, whether it be bow and arrow, shotgun or muzzleloader.

“I’d go if they had a stick and stone season,” he said.



With the rut just around the corner and hot-and-bothered deer at their most reckless, the Massachusetts Highway Department has told the town of West Tisbury it is done disposing of dead deer on state roads.

“Last Friday Mass Highway was called because a dead deer was on a state road and generally they go out and pick it up but they informed us they’re not going to do it anymore,” said town administrator Jen Rand. “The reason being they say there’s no place to put it.”


Shotgun season for deer began on Monday and the first week of the 12-day season was marked by good weather and a decent harvest by hunters.

By 1 p.m. yesterday, Brian Hawthorne, a forester for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, had seen 71 deer come through the deer check-in station in the state forest.



A total of 292 deer were taken during the two weeks of shotgun season on the Vineyard, which ended on Saturday, Dec. 12. Hunters were successful and the numbers are close to what was expected, despite weather conditions that were less than ideal.

“The weather was not that great,” said John Scanlon, state wildlife biologist. Mr. Scanlon operated the deer check-in station at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest during the first week of the hunting season. He checked in 137 deer.