How Best to Control Deer?

    The East Hampton Village Board will host a roundtable discussion on deer management at the Emergency Services Building on Monday at 1 p.m. Representatives from the Village Preservation Society, the Ladies Village Improvement Society, the Town of East Hampton, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, the Garden Club of East Hampton, and the Maidstone Club are expected to participate, and input from residents will be welcomed.

    At its meeting last Friday, the board heard from Kathleen Cunningham, representing the Village Preservation Society. “Controlling overabundant deer populations in East Hampton is one of the most important quality-of-life issues facing elected officials,” Ms. Cunningham said. She argued that the village should implement a sterilization program, citing the prevalence of tick-borne illnesses and the town’s deer management plan, which she characterized as “moving at a glacial pace.” A sterilization program in conjunction with a “culling program” — in which deer are killed by firearm or bow and arrow — will effectively control the population, she said.

    “Not only is there no relief in sight, deer numbers continue to increase, as hunting alone cannot keep pace with the birth rate,” Ms. Cunningham said. In the absence of a management policy, deer fences inhibit vistas, she said. “These fences create a fortress atmosphere instead of the friendly, residential lawns and gardens that once beckoned the eye and enhanced the visual appeal of village neighborhoods, dramatically affecting the character of our community.”

    Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. agreed with Ms. Cunningham that the deer population represents “a public health nuisance.” Her group’s suggestion, he said, is one way to address the situation, but he and the board would like to discuss “any and all viable options. . . . We know we have to take action.”