Deer in Town Sights

Opposed by some, but hunting called best route

    The East Hampton Town Board once again discussed deer management at a work session Tuesday, agreeing, it seemed, that an initial assessment of the numbers of deer would be needed before the town could set goals and judge the effectiveness of any reduction program it might adopt.
     The effort to create a management plan has been led by Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who worked with a citizens committee to outline strategies. In the meantime, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife has sent the board its own management proposals, in a report titled “Deer: A Humane Plan.” The group opposes culling by any lethal means and believes that “with some ingenuity, the town can address perceived problems through non-lethal means.”
    “If herd reduction is the highest priority,” Councilman Stanzione said Tuesday, “then using professional cullers is the best route.” Local hunters could be involved, he said, but additional help would be needed to achieve a 50-percent reduction in the herd over three years, as has been suggested. Taking exception to that route, the wildlife group cites “the moral value of adopting non-lethal strategies.”
    In considering how to get a handle on the size of the town’s deer population, the board discussed an aerial survey that would provide the data required by the United States Department of Agriculture should the town decide to hire its sharpshooters to cull the herd. It also would provide details about concentrations and movements of deer. It would cost more, however, than a data sampling method.
    Other aspects of a management plan under consideration are actions that might help reduce the number of deer, such as opening for hunting additional public lands that the town co-owns for this year’s season, opening the January shotgun-hunting season to nonresidents, and amendments to state and local laws that could facilitate a larger deer take. In addition, Mr. Stanzione said, the board might consider revisions to local laws about deer fences, with an eye toward preserving wildlife corridors and vistas.
    The board will continue its review of the draft plan at an upcoming work session. Once any desired revisions are made, a final draft will be the subject of a hearing.
    The purpose of a new deer census would be not only to determine the size of the herd but to provide information about where deer most frequently cross highways so the town can focus efforts to reduce collisions.
    In its report to the board, which was delivered last week, the wildlife group said a 2006 study had estimated 3,239 deer in town, or about 51 deer per square mile, noting that the figures were “somewhat higher than wildlife managers generally prefer in the eastern United States, but not alarmingly high.”
    In addition, the group said, the deer were deemed at that time to be in good health. However, Marguerite Wolffsohn, the town planning director, told the town board on Tuesday that those numbers should instead be 20 to 40 deer per square mile.
    The Group for Wildlife plan urges the town to “maintain a creative, research-oriented attitude” toward a pilot immunocontraceptive program.
    “At first glance it would seem to be simple to reduce a deer population: Just expand hunting. But researchers have documented a rebound effect: Deer give birth to more fawns after hunts,” according to the report, which includes citations of scientific studies.
    Other initiatives that the town should pursue, according to the Group for Wildlife, are a slow-driving campaign and the evaluation of the efficacy of roadside reflectors designed to discourage deer from crossing a road when there is an oncoming vehicle. After a trial conducted by the group in 2008 along Stephen Hand’s Path in East Hampton showed “very promising” results, more reflectors were installed last year. They are now on 1.2 miles of roadway, and an analysis of the results is anticipated by the end of this year. “If the reflectors prove effective, the town board should encourage private residents and groups to fund expanded installations,” the report states.
    The alternative plan also suggests discouraging deer fencing on residential properties and promoting deer-resistant plantings. “Attention to plants,” the plan says, is important because “deer populations strongly vary with food resources, and large new homes often have lavish gardens that increase the deer population beyond what it otherwise would be.”
    Noting that hunting is allowed in many of the town’s designated nature preserves, the report says wildlife sanctuaries should be established. According to the report, sanctuaries would reduce the pressure on deer “to seek safety in the no-hunting residential areas,” as well as stress that might trigger increased births. The report also recommends an objective study of the extent of damage to the woodland understory and the extent to which deer are responsible, as well as developing recommendations for how to alleviate the problem.
    As for Lyme disease, the Group for Wildlife suggests that the town do more to educate the public about how to avoid tick bites and to prohibit the hunting of turkeys, which eat immature ticks. Because Lyme disease is also spread by ticks that feed on the white-footed mouse, the report says, “it’s unlikely that any reduction of deer populations can alleviate the disease.” While some species of female ticks feed on a second mammalian host, such as deer, the report says, if deer were eliminated, the ticks would feed on other animals such as raccoons and opossums.
    The report also states that two recent studies show that “four-poster” stations, where deer are exposed to tick-killing chemicals, reduced ticks by 69 to 100 percent. The wildlife group suggests the town look into the use of bait-boxes for mice that would distribute similar chemicals.
    The Group for Wildlife report concludes that a  nonlethal method of reducing the deer population is “an approach that reflects compassion and respect for other living beings.”


Given the nature of the problem, multiple approaches should be chosen. Indecision is a decision.
And it would be ashame to just pick the USDA without seeking out more local service know, help the economy by giving work to local business instead of just giving more money to the Government.
I volunteer my back yard for a hunting station. With 8-15 deer traveling through my yard each evening, deer jumping over my 9 foot fence into the vegetable garden I'd hoped to feed my family and cut expenses, and deer droppings every few feet, I'd say we have a major problem. I have my yard sprayed each month to prevent Lyme disease, yet my 4 yr old granddaughter has it anyway. I support hunting, would love to see the four poster stations around Amagansett, and am waiting for something similar for the white footed mouse;-)
I would love to hunt private land, I have hunted Jacobs Farm in East Hampton for the last three years. But last year the deer were real thin in there because there was no acorns. The deer were all in people's yards. If anyone would like a responsible bow hunters to thin a few deer let me know. I have good refences apon request.
My mistake My email address is
The last sentence above says the Group for Wildlife promotes "compassion for beings." Mosqitoes, cockroaches and bedbugs are living beings. Are these people insane?
yes, compassion for living beings IS insane
The fact is that nothing other than "hearsay" and anecdotal accounts of deer sightings have thus far been offered to justify opening yet more public owned/co-owned land (i.e: land that belongs to us all, to every taxpayer in the Town of East Hampton) to the slaughter of deer/wildlife that are also part of the public trust. The plan put forth by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife addresses real as well as "perceived" problems in a humane and non-violent way. Anyone rejecting or objecting to this has another agenda, and that is, the wish to hunt and kill for pleasure, using the so-called deer overpopulation as an excuse.
The fact is that nothing other than "hearsay" and anecdotal accounts of deer sightings have thus far been offered to justify opening yet more public owned/co-owned land (i.e: land that belongs to us all, to every taxpayer in the Town of East Hampton) to the slaughter of deer/wildlife that are also part of the public trust. The plan put forth by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife addresses real as well as "perceived" problems in a humane and non-violent way. Anyone rejecting or objecting to this has another agenda, and that is, the wish to hunt and kill for pleasure, using the so-called deer overpopulation as an excuse.
We have a massive Lyme disease epidemic caused by the deer epidemic. In 1930 there were 300,000 deer in the US. Today there are 30 Million. Monhegan Island Maine had a Lyme epidemic but they ended it by killing all the deer. The mice are still there. The adult egg-laying deer tick must feed on a sizeable mammal for reproduction. 90% feed on deer. They can not feed on a rodent. Adult ticks from one deer produce 450,000 eggs per season or more. These hatch into the immature tick forms which can feed on mice. Killing the deer breaks the cycle. Unfortunately the deer-huggers spread lying propaganda to try to prevent deer culling. They care about animals but not about human beings.
Call me inhumane, cold, uncaring. I used to care but not at the present time. The deer have eaten everything I have planted on over 2 acres of land and ticks/Lyme disease have taken a toll on my family, friends and outdoor caretakers. I used to love the deer and thought of Bambi in the beginning but now I don't care how they are killed, just kill them and let us live in peace without the worry of our children contacting Lyme disease. I will be glad to have a deer-hugger live on my grounds for a few days and become infected in order to learn their lesson. Forming groups to study this is just as ineffective as doing nothing. East Hampton officials - act now or be responsible for human lives.
I've had lyme disease twice now. The road is littered with deer roadkills. My yard is covered in deer poop. No to paid 'sharpshooters,' more bowhunting land for (real) town residents, please!
Paul Curtis, Cornell wildlife expert, states that the deer population must be reduced to 6-8 per square mile to reduce the tick density. The Group for Wildlife should show some concern for human lives. Their so-called Humane Plan is inhumane. The Lyme epidemic has resulted in ended careers, missed childhoods, and ruined lives. Most victims never notice the tick or the rash. The group at highest risk is children. The CDC reports that even with appropriate treatment, 10-20% go on to chronic symptoms anyway. The deer tick carries other disease too, such as babesiosis, which can be fatal and now is almost as common as Lyme in some areas.
good discussion on this in the recent sag harbor express article as well. east hampton should consider 4 poster program along with north haven.
My name is Robert age 40 and I hunt with my partner Gabe in the greater New York Area. Mainly hunting Deer, we are looking for land to for Hunting Season in Long Island, westchester,Dutches or Colombia county NY, Whether it be farm land or private property, we only Bow hunt Long Island and have official New York State Hunting Licenses. We are very professional and will not make a mess, we will take care of the land and not bring any more people on the property without advanced permission. if you have anything available please contact me at Thank you
I have read with great interest the need for culling deer in the town of East Hampton. One proposal is to allow non residents to hunt the firearms season in January but no mention or suggestion to allow non residents to hunt during the archery season from October 1 to December 31. Also proposed is the expansion of huntable lands for residents at a time when there are less resident licensed bowhunters. This will only produce a small harvest increase, if any. The town of East Hampton should consider allowing non residents the opportunity to bow hunt these lands. Not only would there be more harvesting of deer, but the town merchants would also benefit from monies spent by hunters for food, lodging, gas, etc. To further give a preference to resident bowhunters, the town could restrict non resident bowhunters to week day only hunting saving weekends for the residents. The town could also charge non residents a resonable "NON RESIDENT PERMIT FEE" and the money could be used for any deer program as needed (administrative costs, signs,fences, etc.). I have been a bowhunter for over 40 years, but as a resident of Nassau County I cannot hunt on most of these lands. I would very much like to hunt on private land in the town of East Hampton especially if the land owner is experiencing deer and tick problems. I am a retired police officer and a very responsible and ethical bowhunter. I would only hunt with one other bowhunter with the same values. Additionally, I would treat your property with the highest respect and in the event of a summer home, report to you the conditions of the building and property. I can be contacted at: