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Town: Southold Tick Task Force Would Help Put Pressure on County, State

Southold Town Board members consider forming tick eradication task force of their own.

About two weeks after Suffolk County’s Tick Task Force heard feedback from Southold residents on what needs to be done to eradicate tick borne illnesses, Southold Town Board members discussed creating a tick task force on the local level — if only to keep pressure on county and state entities in the effort to thin a tick-infested deer herd on the North Fork.

“I think the most important issue for this task force is to push for policy change on how people can hunt,” said Councilman Al Krupski at Tuesday morning's Town Board work session. “The DEC needs to understand that things are much different in Southold than they are upstate as far as shooting distances between residences.”

Due to the narrow geography of the North Fork, hunting is limited to bow and arrow and only on certain Town-owned parcels, making the task of thinning the herd difficult for even participants in the which formed in 2008. Hunters took 382 deer in that program last year, but some residents at the county’s tick task force meeting earlier this month said that’s not nearly enough.

“We have to let our lawmakers know that they can’t be dancing around the issue out here anymore,” said Councilman William Ruland.

Deer are one of the main carriers of ticks in Suffolk County — and a tick bite can cause Lyme Disease, an ailment that is often misdiagnosed and untreated. According to the Center for Disease Control, 3118 cases of Lyme disease were confirmed in New York State in 2011, and 1372 were “probable” cases.

Councilman Ruland said that a local tick task force should also examine ways to contain deer in one area to make something like the  “4-poster” tick management method of ridding deer of ticks — something that has worked on Shelter Island — more feasible for the North Fork.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said that he’d like to hold a public hearing for more feedback before creating the task force. Al Krupski said he’d like to see State Sen. Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Dan Losquadro at that hearing.

“This is a good way to see what they intend to do to move these goals forward,” Krupski said.

melanie October 23, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Thinning the herd or killing beautiful, harmless deer. What's next? Thinning out the raccoon, opossum, gopher & squirrel population also?? Is this really necessary? It's their land. The animals were here before us. They shoud be allowed to live as God has created them. We just keeping taking their land away from them to put up more houses & buildings. With all of our top scientists, we as a people cannot come up with a better way.Or are we just to cheap & lazy to find one? Do we really want to live in a world without animals? That's seems to be what this world is coming to. : (
Bob Bittner October 23, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Melanie.. there are more deer on Long Island than when it was first settled by the europeans. Harmless? They eat everything - carry ticks which hurt people.- can be violent if provoked They have no natural prediators as they did before man arrived. They are weak and interbred and often sickly. Maybe we should just import bears, and lions and let them roam freely so that the deer would have a prediator ah but then so would man. Bascially it's survival of the fittest.and quite frankly I pick man over the deer cruel as that may seem.

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