04/11/14 10:00am
Two deer grazing behind a Cutchogue home on Tuesday. Lawmakers hope looser setback regulations will help manage deer populations. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder photo)

Two deer grazing behind a Cutchogue home on Tuesday. Lawmakers hope looser setback regulations will help manage deer populations. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder photo)

State leaders recently approved new regulations that will open up available land to bowhunters on Long Island, enabling them to target deer closer to structures than what was previously allowed.  (more…)

02/26/14 3:24pm
02/26/2014 3:24 PM
Deer on Deep Hole Drive in Mattituck. (Lynette Dallas courtesy file photo)

Deer on Deep Hole Drive in Mattituck. (Lynette Dallas courtesy file photo)

A state Supreme Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Southold Town that sought to prevent a plan to use hired federal hunters to trim the number of deer within town lines. On Wednesday, Judge Gerard Asher determined the suit, which protested the town’s decision to contribute $25,000 to the Long Island Farm Bureau to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s sharpshooter program, to be without merit.  (more…)

01/27/14 5:30pm
01/27/2014 5:30 PM
NYS EXECUTIVE CHAMBER COURTESY PHOTO | Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany last year.

NYS EXECUTIVE CHAMBER COURTESY PHOTO | Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany last year.

While local hunters have been calling for reduced hunting regulations during months of spirited debate over a planned deer cull expected to start early next month in Southold, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in the details of his executive budget last week that he favors reducing bowhunting setbacks throughout the state. (more…)

01/23/14 7:00am
01/23/2014 7:00 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO  |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO  |   The deer population on the North Fork continues to grow.

To the editor:

Early in the morning of Jan. 19, I saw it lying in the road on Ludlam Avenue. My first thought was that it was too small to have made it through the winter, anyway. The least I could do was drag it off to the side of the road by the woods and notify the town. (more…)

01/12/14 10:00am
01/12/2014 10:00 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO  |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO |  The rise in deer population has become one of the biggest concerns for North Fork residents.

As a lifelong resident of the North Fork, I have witnessed the explosion of the deer population.

When I was growing up, it was rare to find deer tracks in fields or in the woods, but now it’s common to come across several deer in one’s backyard. Historically, populations of deer were dramatically lower than they are today, and we know that without natural predators and with plentiful food sources, deer populations can double in two to three years.

The agricultural industry, a critical part of the East End economy, has experienced millions of dollars of crop loss due to white-tailed deer. Farmers have spent thousands of dollars on deer fencing to protect crops; this is an expense most cannot afford. As a fourth generation farmer, I understand this all too well.

As a Suffolk County Legislator and a former Southold Town Councilman, I have spoken to hundreds of constituents whose lives have been seriously impacted by deer, whether it is by a tick-borne illness or a car accident or, as in some cases, both. I have walked through many acres of preserved open spaces and parks in my district and seen firsthand the destruction deer have done to the natural environment.

All efforts must be made to bring the population of white-tailed deer, which has reached crisis proportions in eastern Suffolk County, down to sustainable levels. The USDA sharpshooter program is one tool that can be employed to help achieve this goal and, at least in Southold Town, the community will utilize the program to decrease the herd size and protect human health, biodiversity and property.

This does not mean that there is unanimous support for culling the herd or that no controversy surrounds the program, but if the alternatives are considered objectively, the logical conclusion is that we need to act.

Tick-borne illnesses have cost millions of dollars in treatment and lost work and caused much pain and suffering. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported almost 3,000 cases of Lyme disease in New York State in 2012, but it is believed the actual number is much greater due to misdiagnosis, inconclusive testing and underreporting. New York State has one of the highest incidences of tick-borne illnesses in the country and Suffolk County has one of the highest infection rates in the state.

Lyme disease is not the only tick-borne illness associated with deer. Others, such as Babesiosis, can be particularly harmful to people with compromised immune systems. In addition, tick-borne disorders unfamiliar to scientists are emerging, such as a potentially life-threatening red meat allergy that develops in some people bitten by lone star ticks.

The Suffolk County Tick Management Task Force concluded that “the issue of tick-borne disease is inextricably linked to deer overpopulation … Any strategy for tick control must reduce the number of deer and/or the number of ticks on deer to have any chance of success.”

Unchecked growth of the white-tailed deer population has devastated the natural environment and this will continue until we act to reduce the population to a sustainable level.

Conservationists and those who advocate for the protection of wildlife alike should support policies that cull the herd to protect habitat and biodiversity. In many areas deer have destroyed the woodland understory. Invasive plant species, like mile-a-minute vine, have taken over because beneficial native plants have been gobbled up by deer.

The insects, birds and other animals these native plants and ecosystems support are now threatened and have decreased in numbers. Some forests are so stripped they may not be able to regenerate.

The problems caused by white-tailed deer overpopulation are multi-faceted and costly. As a community, we need to make the hard choices and manage the herd to lessen the occurrence of disease, habitat destruction and property loss.

If you are concerned about the well-being of individual deer, perhaps you should stop driving, because hundreds are killed or maimed in car accidents yearly. It is not a pretty sight to see an animal writhing in pain after being hit but not killed.

The USDA program is conducted safely, professionally and humanely. The meat harvested is a good source of protein and will not go to waste but will be donated to food pantries and homeless shelters feeding many people in need on Long Island.

Al Krupski is a Suffolk County legislator whose district encompasses the North Fork. He lives in Cutchogue.

12/16/13 10:30am
12/16/2013 10:30 AM
JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

A lottery for Riverhead Town residents and property owners to hunt on town-owned land in Calverton is scheduled for tonight, Monday, in Town Hall.

The annual hunt during the special firearms season, for shotguns and muzzleloaders, runs from Jan. 6 through Jan. 31, on weekdays.

Riverhead officials started opening up lands at Enterprise Park at Calverton a few years ago to thin the herd, though this season, three-day slots that hunters had been given last year will be reduced to two-day openings.

The lottery will take place at 7 p.m. in Town Hall at 210 Howell Avenue. Applicants must be in attendance to participate, and proper ID and hunting license must be presented at the time of the lottery.

Interested hunters can contact Councilman George Gabrielsen at 727-3200, Ext. 223, for more information.

12/12/13 7:00am
12/12/2013 7:00 AM
JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

To the editor:

It was appalling to learn that a tentative plan is in place to kill thousands of deer across Brookhaven and the East End using trained snipers to manage the growing population.

The plan, which would also include bow hunters to come within 150 feet of private residences rather than the current regulation of 500 feet, is extremely dangerous and perhaps deadly.

Rather than create an inhumane agenda to deal with the growing deer population, why were methods not in place all along to inhibit the expansion of this docile species across eastern Long Island?

Deer culling, the management of a deer population in a certain area, using birth control vaccines has been successful in national parks for years. Instead, we choose to have hunters hanging from trees in the dark targeting innocent animals. Rather than tout this plan, we should be ashamed to even present it.

Jason Hill, Ridge