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.

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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