In a near-unanimous vote last Thursday, the East Hampton Town Board adopted a deer management plan for the town, after hearing the results of a March survey that identified only 877 deer living here, far fewer than is generally believed.
The plan contains a number of possible actions and alternatives to further assess the deer population and monitor the herd, measures that could be used to reduce it, and other long-term management options.
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley voted against adopting the plan. “I’m in favor of having a deer management plan,” she said, but “I don’t approve of this plan. I think it’s too sloppy, and contains misstatements, based on what I’ve heard.”
The plan was developed by a “deer management working group” organized over a year ago by Councilman Dominick Stanzione. The group included state and county legislators, town planning and environmental staff, and members of organizations such as the Peconic Land Trust, the Nature Conservancy, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
In a press release this week, Mr. Stanzione thanked the participants and said the plan “blazes a new trail in local public policy” and “addresses a critical public health and safety need of our community.” Its development, he said, was “an important demonstration that town government can work for our community, if we work together. ”
The new approach, said the councilman, “sets environmental and safety goals for [the] deer population” and includes plans for expanding hunting areas, using non-lethal methods to control the size of the herd, streamlining the issuance of hunting permits, and creating a deer management advisory board, among other initiatives. It provides for budgeting over the next several years to fund the efforts.
The full text of the plan can be found on the town Web site at town.east-hampton.ny.us.