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Supervisor: East Hampton 'Not In Position' To Participate in Deer Cull This Year

Are you happy that the proposed deer cull in East Hampton will most likely be nixed, at least for this year?

After weeks of contentious debate over a proposed deer cull meant to thin the herd in East Hampton, Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell announced Friday that the town would not be in a position to participate in the sharpshooter program this year.

A memo sent out Friday from Cantwell, Councilman and Fred Overton, deer plan liaison stated that after meeting this week with Senior Environmental Analyst Andy Gaites, Town Attorney Elizabeth Vail, and Planning Director Marguerite Wolffsohn for a discussion on the town's deer management plan and the Long Island Farm Bureau’s deer-cull proposal,  the sharpshooter plan will be a no-go this season.

"iI appears certain the Town of East Hampton will not be in a position to participate in the Long Island Farm Bureau program this year," Cantwell wrote.

The memo outlined reasons for the decision, including an Article 78 that has been filed challenging the town deer plan.

The legal action commenced in December; opponents filed suits in Suffolk County Supreme Court aimed at shooting down the culling plan.

The Article 78 and declaratory judgement, which sought to stop the town and village from going forward with the program, was filed  in December against the town board, town trustees, and the Village of East Hampton.

It was brought by 15 residents and two organizations, including Montauk residents William (Bill) Crain and Ellen Crain and their organization, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, as well as the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center, which serves the entire East End though it is located in Hampton Bays. 

"There may be additional litigation on a local and/or federal level opposing the Long Island Farm Bureau Plan, based on correspondence received," Cantwell wrote in the memo.

In addition, Cantwell said the town had been advised that an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the state environmental review was  likely required before the town formally agreed to participate in the Long Island Farm Bureau program, based on existing case law.

Cantwell added that the response from private property owners asking to participate in the Long Island Farm Bureau Plan had been minimal.

For those reasons, the plan would not likely fly this season, Cantwell said.

"However, if participation is open next year and a more complete environmental analysis is completed, the town can reconsider. In the meantime, we recommend the town continue implementing the town deer management plan."

Cantwell said the town board would discuss the matter at its work session on Tuesday.

"Going forward, the town should continue to support hunting as a primary method of reducing and managing the overall deer population, and the town board has supported state legislation to allow expanded hunting opportunities on the East End. Last year, more than 500 deer were taken by hunters, according to reports to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation," Cantwell wrote.

Another key step, the supervisor said, would be to provide the public with additional and better info about the deer population and its impacts on the environment, public safety, property and crops. 

"Toward this end, the town should improve its monitoring of the deer population and related environmental damage. It should compile data on deer vs. vehicle accidents and locations of deer over time, as well as the hunting of the animals," the supervisor said.

Cantwell suggested educational information be added to the town's website on deer biology, deer fencing, hunting, and the impact of deer; a deer hot line should be created; additional town properties should be added for deer hunting seasons; there should be increased management of the town airport strike hazard permit, so that more hunters would be added, as well as tags from DEC; metrics should be developed to assess changes in the deer population and environmental damage; coordination with hunters and private property owners should be orchestrated for regular hunting seasons; assistance should be given to private property owners to obtain nuisance permits; the town should apply for nuisance permits on its municipal properties; and donation of venison to food pantries should be facilitated.

For weeks, animal advocates and hunters have spoken out in opposition to the proposed cull; a demonstration was held in East Hampton.

In Southold, however, the public is in overwhelming favor of the sharpshooter plan.

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Burke February 01, 2014 at 02:36 PM
There are many people in Southold who are against the deer cull despite what the officials say!
Ellen Wexler February 01, 2014 at 05:59 PM
Hello to North and South Fork residents who think that we should not reduce the huge overpopulation of deer. Please go outside and look at the woods and forests of our Towns. They are totally denuded. We have lost numerous wildlife and plants. Steve Young Chief Botanist of the NYS DEC, observed that The East End’s woods are on track to becoming "ecological slums.” You can see straight through hundreds of feet into the woods. Our woods are not supposed to look like they do today. They are dying. Over the past decade due to over 65 deer per sq mile ,shrubs and saplings have not been able to grow. Go outside and look what has happen while we didn’t notice. The US botanist who visited said Southold had the most damaged woods he has ever seen. The salamanders snakes and turtles that lived in these woods are gone. The rabbits have no place to nest and the earth is brown and dry. The deer have also almost completely exterminated other valuable native plants like ladyslippers (a native orchid) and sweet fern (a formerly common and ecologically beneficial bush). They have severely damaged large beds of low bush huckleberry that are an important food source for many animals. They have decimated nesting sites for many desirable song birds. The eastern towhee, a delightful ground-nesting and -foraging bird that was previously common, has now completely disappeared. Finally severe over browsing of the forest understory is significantly increasing storm water runoff into Peconic Bay. This cannot be helpful to the preservation of water quality in a bay system that we already know is prone to the development of harmful brown tides. Such widespread damage is unacceptable to those of us who value more in Nature than just deer. Our woods are dying and so many animals are now gone because we have more deer than the land can sustain. Have a heart and please educate yourself about what has and is happening to our natural environment and help your Town Restore The Balance.
Rose Kay February 01, 2014 at 08:07 PM
Residents who care more about their landscaping than precious living beings have no shame. So the deer eat your plants — so what? We humans have dangerously depleted the world’s fish population, have poisoned the air and water, and genetically ruined much of the world’s natural crops — far worse damage than deer eating your begonias. Should we be exterminated? Either put up better fences or stop whining. Killing is simply immoral . Similarly, the USDA and the Long Island Farm Bureaus plan to trap the deer and drive steel bolts into their brains is sadistic barbarity. How can anyone with a heart commit this atrocity? Southold is a shining example of a town without pity and this will be it's legacy for many years to come. The board of trustees should step back and reconsider this barbaric proposal before it's too late.
Linda Burke February 01, 2014 at 08:14 PM
"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it's beauty " Albert Einstein
Ellen Wexler February 01, 2014 at 08:18 PM
I do not thinking you are listening' The state and federal wildlife experts have reported on the extreme environmental damage to the East end of Long Island.Most of are woods have nothing growing below 6 ft. We have lost - maybe permanently- numerous animals insects wild plants that keep nature in balance. Because the ground is stripped of all plants we are getting run off that is polluting Peconic Bay. In my first comment I gave you the report f this damage. The Facts are that We have six times the deer here now as in 1980 and the damage is very real and very dangerous.
Rose Kay February 01, 2014 at 09:21 PM
You are not listening......Where this deer slaughter plan is concerned, you have, up to this point, refused to hear, to be honest, to be reasonable, to be rational, to be kind, to be ethical, and to be wise. There's not anything inspiring or exemplary about this plan. If you go through with it, you will be choosing nothing more than the same types of acts committed by narrow-minded, self-serving bullies. The majority of people who responded to this plan are against it. The ridiculous rationales you have given for this slaughter have all been debunked by experts in their respective fields. Bullies are basically cowards acting on impulse, prejudice, inflexibility, pretension, and most importantly lacking that supposedly human-only characteristic of being able to put oneself in another's shoes. If you go through with this, the motivating force will be only the corruption of pride, arrogance and power. You'll be doing it because you can, and only because you can, as nothing else supports it. It's still not too late to change and bring good will and kindness back again to Southold.
Val February 01, 2014 at 09:49 PM
Congratulations to the village of East Hampton!!! You saved your precious wildlife. There are many, many people in Southold town who oppose the deer cull but who are not being heard or represented. Let's come up with a better plan to live in peace with them. In the eight years that I have lived in the woods, there has actually been a decrease in the area herd. Deer might be roaming east because of the development in the town of Riverhead. It makes sense that we would find more deer in our backyards and on the roads if we remove their natural habitat and force them to find food elsewhere. Peconic Bay is being polluted by people, not deer.
Sandi Raciti February 01, 2014 at 11:47 PM
"The greatness of a nation and its moral compass is judged by the way its animals are treated" Mahatma Ghandi
Walt February 02, 2014 at 09:00 AM
We all share the same objective of a balanced and thriving wilderness environment on the East End - it's a big part of what makes the area so special. The real issue at hand regards the MEANS that are to be used. Humane, alternatives to a general SLAUGHTER (such as birth control that have worked in other places) have been proposed and rejected out of hand. A people that resort to VIOLENCE are a people that have run out of ideas...this debate is, in the end, not about culling the deer population, but about the refusal of the authorities to even try to think out of the box and address the problem in a better, more humane way - Progressive associations like LION have proposed such humane ways to achieve the same ends...but the
Patchogue Snoop February 03, 2014 at 11:33 AM
North Fork= Real People. South Fork=Phoney, hypocritical, feel good LIBS, the self appointed liberal gang who stole this town from the former real people. Let the lawsuits roll against tony East Hampton.....this is now risen to negligence on their part, have an accident with a deer, sue them based on this decision. Wake them up, this is no game, deer are crawling all over EH and Montauk on the roads endangering HUMAN LIVES.
Frank T February 05, 2014 at 03:27 PM
Send the deer to Madonna's ranch. There are probably lots of diseases that could kill or sterilize the deer over there.
Patchogue Snoop February 06, 2014 at 05:21 PM
LOL Good one! I hear that doll Martha loves the deer eating all her prized plants.
Patchogue Snoop February 06, 2014 at 05:23 PM
It seems humans are the last when it comes to animal rights....I'm an animal last I checked.

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