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Opponents Will Protest East Hampton's Planned Sharpshooter Deer Cull Program

The East Hampton Group for Wildlife will hold a "No Cull" rally and demonstration, starting at the Hook Mill, on Jan. 18 at 1 p.m.

A deer in Springs Credit: Romaine Gordon
A deer in Springs Credit: Romaine Gordon
Tempers continue to ignite over a proposed East End sharpshooter program that aims to cull the burgeoning deer population on the North Fork and in other areas.

Since the program was first outlined during a North Fork deer forum, many have spoken out on both sides of the issue. On the North Fork, support has been voiced strongly in favor of the program at area forums, as residents stream to the podium to chronicle the dearth of vegetation, spike in car accidents, and swelling number of tick-borne illnesses that have wreaked havoc on their lives.

Others have lashed out against the sharpshooter program. And now, an East Hampton group opposing the sharpshooter deer cull program will take to the streets in protest later this month.

The East Hampton Group for Wildlife, which already filed suit against the town, village, and town trustees, has organized a "No Cull" rally and demonstration on Jan. 18.

"We want to express, in a visible way, the depth of opposition to the deer cull," said Bill Craine, a Montauk resident and the founder for the East Hampton Group for Wildlife. "Every day I receive emails from East Hampton residents who say they are 'appalled' and 'sickened' by the plan to use sharpshooters to kill hundreds of deer. They ask, 'How can I help stop this?'"

The Long Island Farm Bureau secured $200,000 in grant funding to embark upon the United State Department of Agriculture's sharpshooter program to reduce the number of deer on the East End and in the Town of Brookhaven. The goal is to eliminate 2,000 to 3,000 deer in one of the largest government deer removals ever undertaken.

The program was estimated to cost about $500,000, with towns and villages agreeing to participate and provide additional funding. Riverhead Town is the only town so far to opt out of the program, though the Town of Southampton is still undecided.

Craine said there has there has been much enthusiasm for the demonstration so far.

"Public officials have talked about a 'deer emergency' and 'epidemic,' but the available data suggest that the East Hampton deer population may well be declining," he said, pointing to a ground survey his group commissioned in 2006 that estimated there were 3,293 deer. The town-commissioned aerial survey counted 877.

"Despite different methodologies, the surveys point to population reduction. It’s possible that a cull could devastate the deer population in our town," Craine said.

Those who want to speak out against the deer cull planned in East Hampton will gather at the Hook Mill in the village on Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. and march in single file along the sidewalks to Herrick Park, where they will stand for 20 to 30 minutes facing Newtown Lane.

Craine knew of no other rallies planned on the East End, as he said he has only heard from one resident outside of East Hampton.

Do you plan on attending the rally and demonstration? Tell us in the comments below.

robert chambers January 07, 2014 at 08:41 AM
What about the farm animals goats and horses on the east end. When will they be shot. They have ticks too
Rose Kay January 07, 2014 at 05:14 PM
All Long Islanders should come and speak out against this despicable ,vile and utterly inhumane act of violence against these gentle animals who only want to live in peace. This is clearly an abuse of power and public trust to even contemplate such sniper violence right in our own backyards, with our tax payments and in our name. The deer are being scapegoated. They are a great form of revenue and it makes one wonder what's really in it for those who proposed this plan to begin with. The public should demand a complete accounting of all funds obtained by county executives that are involved in this so called deer emergency plan. Don't believe their lies that only a horrific and painful death to these animals is the only viable solution. Contraceptives and tick control products can be easily added to bait stations but there is no big money incentive to for this simple and humane solution to the problem. Please speak up and show up ,and let them know we are better then this!
Frank T January 08, 2014 at 01:11 PM
Robert, I have never seen a horse or goat on my property or running around the neighborhood spreading ticks. They are farm animals and live on farms. Not a good argument against deer culling.
Frank T January 08, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Rose Kay, how are deer a "great form of revenue"?
robert chambers January 08, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Rose do you have any idea what a hunter spends a year on a licence his equipment, clothing, travel, deli, gas, Well, it is in the thousands each year.
robert chambers January 08, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Robert The deer I shot in east hampton this year had very few ticks. In fact the deer upstate had more ticks this year.
Frank T January 08, 2014 at 01:26 PM
The deer I found recently on my property shot dead by a hunter was infested with ticks.
robert chambers January 08, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Ticks leave a dead deer within hours. They jump right off...
robert chambers January 08, 2014 at 01:30 PM
I have hunted east hampton for the last 5 years and I have not found one tick on me, I hunted 22 days this year. Not one tick
Frank T January 08, 2014 at 01:36 PM
So that must be you who wakes me up early in the morning with the sound of gunshots! I live on the North Fork. Maybe the ticks can't afford the Hamptons!
robert chambers January 08, 2014 at 01:49 PM
Gunshots??? It bow only for deer on Long island Until Jan. I think you are dreaming this all up as you go. I done talking.

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