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Hunting Limits: Enough Already

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 15:57

We can understand how the people and groups asking to limit hunting on East Hampton Town’s lands to just one day per weekend feel. Shooting animals is disturbing to many, and the noise of shotguns can be unnerving. Also unnerving is the eerie feeling one sometimes gets walking in the woods where hunting may or may not be taking place.

Admitting that we get it, however, does not mean we agree. Considering how brief the several hunting seasons are, reducing them further would be unfair to hunters — especially those who work 9 to 5 and cannot take a weekday off to go gunning. By law, firearms hunting is also limited to a few large pieces of land, far from houses.

It is hard to know for sure, but the call for a new limit seems as much an effort to end hunting through an incremental path than to free the woods of hunters a few days a year. It is worth observing that the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society has not come out in favor of the weekend reduction.

A few facts are worth considering about hunting in East Hampton Town. These days, it is almost entirely limited to waterfowl, Canada geese, and deer. There is a less-than-two-week turkey season in November and a youth season for two days in April. Deer may be hunted by shotgun, but typically only from about Jan. 6 to Jan. 31. On several town properties, deer may be targeted only by bow hunters, who enjoy a slightly longer season but are not prevalent. In all, the risk to hikers is essentially zero. We cannot remember any incident here in which a hunter wounded anyone passing in the woods.

If some residents want to make all hunting illegal, they are free to continue to make their case known. But their attempt to strangle hunting with new weekend limits under the guise of public safety appears disingenuous.

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