PROVIDENCE - Thanks to the generosity of a local sportsman, the Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish & Wildlife has been able to replace bow hunting training equipment that is used to introduce and teach archery skills to students who participate in its Hunter Education programs.
In early June, 12 Genesis bows were stolen during a break-in at a DEM facility, and two have since been recovered. The loss of the equipment impacted DEM field day type events and its Women's Day at the Range and Bow Hunter Education training programs. In an effort to find the remaining bows, DEM's Division of Law Enforcement advised the public that anyone who may have purchased a bow on Craigslist last month may have unknowingly purchased stolen property.
When Johnston orthopedic surgeon A. Robert Buonanno, MD – an avid outdoorsman and bow hunter himself – learned about the missing bows through the news media, he immediately reached out to DEM and donated the $1,100 needed to replace the equipment.
"DEM is committed to teaching outdoor skills to the next generation of Rhode Islanders and engaging the public in wildlife conservation and shooting sports," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We are proud to partner with Dr. Buonanno in this important cause and are thankful for his personal commitment to hunter education and his generosity."
Outside of his orthopedic practice, Dr. Buonanno runs Deer Creek Farm and lodge in Foster, which offers fly fishing instructional programs along with a wide variety of summer and winter sporting activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, cross country skiing and snow shoeing. Over the past 15 years at Deer Creek Farm, Dr. Buonanno has seen children being introduced to these sports at an early age, and has watched them come back year after year as they progressed and matured in their chosen activities.
"Youth are the future of hunting and fishing, and the educational programs impacted by the loss of this equipment are ideal opportunities to get kids involved," said Dr. Buonanno. "I'm happy to provide this equipment and hope that my donation will spur others to get involved and help support these programs that can inspire a life-long interest in wildlife and outdoor activities."
"As a direct result of Dr. Buonanno's generosity, DEM's hunter education program now has the ability to put a bow in the hands of many a new student in our programs," noted Karen Unsworth, hunter education coordinator.
Among the stolen bows that have not been recovered are eight Genesis compound bows that measure 35.5 inches from axle to axle and weigh 3.5 pounds each. Seven are brand new and were still in the original packaging when taken. These include four right-handed orange bows, and three left-handed lime green bows. In addition, a used, right-handed orange bow was also taken. Also, two Genesis Mini bows still in the original packaging were stolen. These include one right-handed red bow and a blue left-handed bow. The stolen bows have been reported to the National Crime Information Center so that the identification numbers of the bows can be traced. DEM is asking anyone who may have purchased one of these bows to contact the Division of Law Enforcement at 222-3070.
Additional information about DEM's hunter education program is available on the DEM website at http://www.dem.ri.gov/topics/wltopics.htm.