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Can Guns Solve Lyme Disease Problem on Maine Island?

The Maine island of Islesboro has a Lyme disease epidemic. One surprising proposed solution -- guns.

There are 600 year-round residents of Islesboro, and with 69 confirmed cases of Lyme disease over the past eight years, as well as 20 suspected cases this summer alone, that qualifies as an epidemic.

Lyme disease of course comes from ticks, which live on the deer. There are 500 deer on the 11-mile long island, meaning there are roughly 50 deer per square mile. A healthy deer population in Maine is 10 per square mile, reports the Bangor Daily News.

That brings us to the guns. In an effort to reduce the deer population, the Tick-Borne Disease Prevention Committee is proposing that gun hunting of deer be permitted for the first time. Right now only bow-and-arrow hunting is allowed.

Committee chairwoman Laura Houle said it is only logical to expand deer hunting because “(ticks) need the deer on Islesboro.”

However many residents would prefer bullets not be flying on a small island that has several densely populated neighborhoods.

The island's residents are expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday.


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