The numbers are in: The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has released deer harvest numbers, reporting that there was a steady deer take in 2011.
On the East End, 546 deer were harvested in East Hampton, 462 in Riverhead, 142 on Shelter Island, 641 in Southampton and 382 in Southold.
The numbers are up from 2010 in East Hampton, where 491 deer were harvested, and down in Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold.
In 2010, 493 deer were harvested in Riverhead, 189 on Shelter Island, 654 in Southampton and 394 in Southold.
Despite the lower overall number, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said in his address that he was proud of the town's evolving , which began in 2008. Participants in the town program harvested 163 deer and donated 101 to a food pantry, which feed dozens of East End families in 2011, the supervisor said.
Individuals can hunt deer on the East End, October through January, provided they have obtained a permit through the DEC.
According to Chip Hamilton, wildlife biologist for the DEC, the DEC has seen a steady increase in tag permits issued — in 2010 1,300 tags were handed out. That number excludes nuisance permits that are given out to farmers.
There are about 200 nuisance permits handed out in Suffolk County each year, Hamilton said.
Hamilton said the rise in tags issued has a lot to do with the addition of locations to obtain the them; tags can now be obtained at town facilities in East Hampton, Shelter Island and Southold.
"We hope that Southampton will follow suit," he said.
Hamilton said there is no shortage of tags in Suffolk, which are managed by the number of kills the year before, because of its high deer population, which he said is starting to move westward because the size of the herd is expanding.
There are no accurate exact numbers on how many deer are on eastern Long Island, Hamilton said, though he added that the Village of East Hampton is working with the DEC on a project to count deer by using infrared cameras from the air.