Riverhead Town Board members informally agreed to support a bill in the state legislature that would allow the East End towns to temporarily permit longbow hunting for deer to take place no closer than 150 feet from homes, or other dwellings on the East End. The current law requires bow hunters to be at least 500 feet from homes or other dwellings.
The state law would also allow the towns to permit longbow hunting on Saturdays and Sundays, which is not currently permitted.
“Typically, the furthest shot a bow hunter will take is between 30 and 40 yards,” Councilman George Gabrielsen said.
The towns could enact a restriction of more than 150 feet, but not less, under the proposal. Mr. Gabrielsen said the town’s wildlife management committee can discuss what distance to enact if the state bill passes.
The Town Board is expected to formally vote Tuesday on the resolution supporting the state bill. Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio were absent from Thursday’s work session.
The bill, sponsored by State Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), says the new regulation is needed because “the recent population explosion of white-tailed deer on Eastern Long Island threatens public health, public safety, personal property, and the environment.”
It described the current increase in deer population as an “emergency, crisis situation requiring immediate action,” and said that tick-borne illness and deer vs. car collisions on the East End have increased as a result of the deer.
The new restrictions, if approved, would only be in effect until Dec. 31, 2014.
Riverhead Town will not be following the lead of Brookhaven, Southold and East Hampton towns in paying the state to bring in sharp-shooters to hunt deer in the town. The state wanted Riverhead to pay $25,000, Mr. Gabrielsen said.
To read what else was discussed at Thursday’s work session, click below.