Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday decided to stay the course after revisiting their decision to back an expanded deer hunting season on the Island.

A full house of hunters attended the meeting Tuesday, which featured discussion about the board’s agreement two weeks ago to send a letter to state Fish and Wildlife officials asking them to consider extending the Island hunting season. Dick Johnson, who is working with the Island boards of health on a tick-borne illness reduction initiative, has been making the rounds of Island towns seeking support for the idea of adding an extra deer hunting season for two weeks next January.

Two weeks ago the board voted unanimously to endorse his suggestion and send a letter to the state.

This week chairman Gail Barmakian said she asked for a review of the decision after hearing comments from Island hunters.

Mr. Johnson clarified that the letter will ask the Division of Fish and Wildlife to conduct a public hearing on the Vineyard to consider extending the hunting season, or other changes to regulations to allow more deer to be harvested on the Island. Earlier discussions centered on an additional hunting season in January, but Mr. Johnson has amended the letter to leave it open when additional hunting would take place.

“Just this letter doesn’t mean this is going to happen,” he said. “All it’s going to do is begin the process of working with the state.”

“But if all towns support they would be given some deference,” Ms. Barmakian said. “I don’t want to minimize the significance of all the boards of selectmen signing on.” She asked whether the selectmen wanted to hold a public hearing or think more about the issue.

Some hunters who attended the meeting said they favored hearings and more discussion about other solutions, including looking at Sunday hunting and opening more private land to hunters.

Island hunter Ned Casey, who has spoken out against the idea of a January hunt, said other options should be explored. “I think we have a platform to use for the benefit of harvesting deer on the Island, and also to benefit the hunters,” he said, noting alternate measures like an earlier bow hunting season or Sunday hunting, which is now prohibited by state law. “If I could hunt on a Sunday I’d be out every Sunday hunting,” he said.

Alley Moore, a hunter, agreed that other options should be explored, noting that female deer are often pregnant in January and the deer are often in thickets at this time of year.

Mr. Johnson said Sunday hunting is prohibited by state law and would take an act of legislature to change, while changing the hunting season would require the Fish and Wildlife division to change regulations. He also said opening up private property is being pursued, and 15 property owners opened up their land for the first time this year.

Planning board member Brian Packish said he agreed something had to be done about the rise of Lyme disease, but said he was “extremely disheartened that we would get to the point that six Island towns would move an initiative all the way to the state level without having an formal open or consistent dialogue with the citizens that . . . we expect to do the heavy lifting.”

Selectman Mike Santoro said he appreciated the points the audience brought up. “I think all Island towns and all selectmen, I can speak for all of us, we have friends, we‘ve seen children who have Lyme disease, and if it was a knee-jerk reaction I apologize to the hunters . . . I think they know what we’re facing,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say that it was done with malice.” He said the board wanted to take quick action on what he said was a health issue.

“I’m happy to hear you have some friends, that’s good to know,” Mr. Packish returned. “And at the end of the day Lyme disease is extremely serious . . . with that said the word malice was never used.”

Other selectmen said they did not want to reconsider their vote, and the public would get a chance to speak at a public hearing. “The objective is to reduce the deer herd,” selectman Walter Vail said. “That’s the goal, to have fewer deer on the Island and fewer tick-borne illnesses.”

Selectman Greg Coogan agreed. “This board voted to help shrink the population of deer and that’s our interest here and I think we have a major health problem on the Island . . . . and I don’t want to do anything that delays looking at this,” he said. “And there are still steps for people to give input. I disagree that we need a lot of input now. The state will have to come down and people will have a chance to voice their disagreements or objections to it. If we take action that delays this I think that’s the wrong direction to go, and we have to see the bigger cause here.”

In other business during a packed three-and-a-half-hour meeting, harbor master Todd Alexander told the board he received a last minute request from a 200-passenger cruise ship that wants to visit Oak Bluffs harbor once a week for 10 weeks starting August 16. Mr. Alexander said the town would have to shut down the fuel dock for the entire day during the visit, per Coast Guard regulations.

Mr. Alexander said he had concerns. “The fall dates are great for business,” he said. “It is derby time. We do get complaints when we close the fuel dock during the derby.” Selectmen suggested Mr. Alexander to ask the cruise company about visiting in September and October, but not in August.

Sailboat washed ashore near East Chop Beach Club in Monday storm. — Timothy Johnson

The board also asked Mr. Alexander about a sailboat that washed ashore at the East Chop beach club during the northeaster Monday night.

Mr. Alexander said the Coast Guard was called and looked into the issue, and the boat washed ashore on a private beach. It is the owner’s responsibility to remove it, he said. “It is expensive and not something the town wants to have to get into,” he said, though he added that sometimes boat owners walk away. He said he would make sure it is taken care of.

Selectmen approved a 16th, and they said final, member of the town hall planning committee. Member Bill McGrath said there will be an open house at town hall on Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with information about the town hall project and town hall tours. The board also set a Feb. 17 deadline for town meeting articles.

Town administrator Robert Whritenour said the town has applied to the state DCR Office of Waterways for $195,000 for engineering and development for improvements to the East Chop bluff, which was damaged in Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and is a pressing project for the town. He said there will be a further update about the bluff at the next meeting,

Mr. Whritenour said the town also received a certificate of appreciation from the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for contributions on behalf of community water fluoridation in 2015. Voters opted to continue adding fluoride to the town water supply; Oak Bluffs is the only town on the Island to do so.

“It is gratifying to see these public agencies recognize the efforts of the community in addressing this issue which is believed to promote good dental health in our town,” Mr. Whritenour wrote in the town report.