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Oct 1, 2014 12:43 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Deer Cull Takes Place In Remsenburg

Oct 1, 2014 1:04 PM

When Nick Millward and his wife, Chris, designed their backyard—a quintessential Remsenburg landscape, replete with lush shrubs and trees, hearty vegetables and rows upon rows of flowers—they did not plan on having to rebuild it every year because of the deer.

That is why the Millwards have joined 47 other homeowners—and counting—in Remsenburg in allowing hunters to legally thin the herd on their land this hunting season, which began on Wednesday, October 1, and runs through December 31.

“I like deer, but I want to see fewer of them,” Mr. Millward said, noting that he’s seen as many as four at one time in his yard, usually nibbling at his flower beds. “We’re certainly agreeable to have a hunter on our property, as long as it’s in accordance with our wishes.”

This season marks the first time that those living in Remsenburg have had the option to sign a waiver permitting hunters on or near their properties to hunt for deer using high-powered bows. In order to participate, homeowners and their neighbors had to sign a waiver indicating their interest in enrolling in the program.

The idea was first presented to the community in May by Christian Killoran, a hamlet resident who organized the cull through Hunters For Deer, a Long Island-based not-for-profit. He has been a member of the organization for more than a decade.

Mr. Killoran, who has been trying to educate the community about the positive effects of culling deer in Remsenburg for a number of years, said he is pleased with the number of residents who have signed the consent forms. He also predicts that more waivers will roll in once the season gets going.

The meat harvested from the three-month-long cull will either be taken by the homeowners and hunters, or donated to Long Island Cares, a food bank that operates from more than 500 locations in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

Organizers emphasized that the hunters, who have been chosen by Hunters For Deer, will hunt only on properties that are remote and attractive to deer. The hunters will avoid those lands where they do not have permission to hunt.

“Not all properties will be hunted,” he said, though he did not know this week how many of the 48 available properties will be utilized by hunters.

Looser restrictions, namely a reduction in how close a hunter is allowed to stand next to a neighboring property, are expected to make their jobs easier. Up until this year, bow hunters needed to keep at least a 500-foot buffer with a neighboring property; this year, they have to keep only a 150-foot buffer.

Mr. Killoran also noted that some properties simply do not work, even if a land owner consents to the cull. “We try to choose spots that are conducive to hunting,” he said. “So, if there are a lot of kids in the neighborhood, the deer probably won’t be.”

He said the hunters, who are all certified bow hunters, will have tags on their cars to notify community members of their presence. Those who have signed up for the program have received emails about how to contact hunters and coordinate times and days for hunting.

Mr. Killoran said there will be between 10 and 15 hunters out on any given day, from dawn to dusk, explaining that this is a relatively conservative approach since it is the first season for Remsenburg.

When he presented the idea to an estimated 75 community members in May, most showed some sort of interest in such a cull. This week, Mr. Killoran said these programs promote a healthy deer population as well.

“There’s clearly an overpopulation,” he said, “which is not good for the community at large. It poses vehicular threats and tick threats, not to mention destroying flowers and plants and the biodiversity of the land.

“It’s not about eviscerating the population,” he continued. “It’s about managing it.”

For the Millwards, witnessing the success of a similar program in Quogue Village, where such a program has been in place for the past eight years, was evidence enough for them to get on board.

“We looked at anyone with a track record for doing this and came to Quogue,” Mr. Millward said. “It’s been pretty successful. We know it can be done, and the only way to do it successfully is with a bow and arrow.”

Chris Osborne, the code enforcement officer in Quogue Village and the organizer of their annual cull, told Remsenburg residents in May that Quogue's average deer “takes” started at about 100 and have increased to more than 200 per annum each of the past seven seasons. He also noted at the time that there are now fewer deer in the village, and the remaining ones appear healthier as they have less competition for a limited amount of food.

Mr. Osborne could not be immediately reached for comment this week.

Meanwhile, on a larger scale, Southampton Town is working on a comprehensive deer management plan to reduce its deer population.

Last spring, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent sharpshooters to cull the deer population, but residents on both sides of the debate were not pleased with the outcome. Opponents to the cull believed it was inhumane and the farmers who wanted to deter animals from their destroying their crops thought the cull was ineffective. Only 60 deer were shot on farms in Sagaponack and Water Mill, according to the Department of Agriculture.

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I hope your happy with your decision and sleep well tonight knowing your vegetables are safe, Did you ever consider a deer fence?

Poor creatures
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 5, 14 9:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Oct 5, 14 10:02 AM
2 members liked this comment
People west of the canal will never spend the 20 a foot needed to erect a properly built deer fence
By They call me (2826), southampton on Oct 5, 14 5:56 PM
"People west of the canal"? Seriously? That's just the kind of broad-minded, inclusive comment we need to bring the community closer together. We should all be grateful to 'They call me' for promoting tolerance and understanding in this holiday season.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 11, 14 10:06 AM
Would you attend a meeting this Thursday Dec 18th at 11am at the town hall to advocate to stop this out right slaughter? This was an extermination en masse, no planned cull or strategy at all.
By Cay Chandler (6), Remsenburg on Dec 14, 14 8:41 AM
Being that both Villages in this article are next to the Pine Barrens and thousands of acres of woods - this is a huge waste of time & effort. Does anyone really think that the deer will not simply repopulate the space vacated by the cull? Quogue's program did nothing, they still have a deer problem and many accidents. Not surprising with Osbourne running this mess/effort, what a joke.
By G (342), Southampton on Oct 5, 14 4:20 PM
Agree with Mr. Wheeler's comment above -- Good luck, Remsenburg! You're taking the buck by the horns and doing what you have to do, despite all the noisy, misguided opposition. I hope it helps.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 5, 14 5:01 PM
This is not a cull, it's a management program, using HFD certified bow hunters on private properties during the legal bow hunting season. The hunters are not using DDP's or nuisance tags. They are using the tags that they are allotted through the purchase of their NYS hunting licenses. The service from the hunters is free, the benefit to them is access.
By MichaelHunter (76), East Quogue, New York on Oct 5, 14 5:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
This managing program is a perfect free service to control and maintain a healthy deer population. In just a few weeks time we will have more harvests than the "so called sharpshooters" who couldn't even complete there tasks of taking over 3,000 deer And we perform the service:
Free so no tax $$ being used
No baiting
No spot lights
No firearms
No wasting of deer meat
No property damage
By Bowhunter Tom (1), Commack on Oct 5, 14 6:33 PM
I like the Easthamptonites idea of issuing condoms to bucks, can't wait to see it on YouTube. "Is that a real rack? Or a silicone rack there Bucky?". Let them experiment first.
By alhavel (50), Hampton Bays on Oct 6, 14 1:52 AM
If these programs were effective, I'd support them and probably even take out the bow & hunt some deer. The problem is they are not effective. There are just too many deer in the woods, the pine barrens, etc to control with a few local hunters. Quogue's program was been an utter failure, and not just because Osbourne ran it. While the USDA cull was a joke, the kills were dressed and delivered to food pantries. To say the meat was wasted is simply another lie.
By G (342), Southampton on Oct 7, 14 12:44 PM

You are completely wrong. The other programs fail because their hunters are ineffective and placed into the program because of connections. HFD certified hunters are selected based on success rate and have taken close to 40 deer in Remsenburg since Oct.1st. Go buy a buy a bow and try our certification, chances are you will not pass, but we will work with you until you do.
By MichaelHunter (76), East Quogue, New York on Oct 7, 14 7:27 PM
MHunter. How do you expect a few local hunters to control a deer population that exceeds 20 thousand locally? Sounds like you are a bit put off because you did not have the connections to get in on the USDA cull? If you had actually read my post, I do own a bow and have been quite good with it since I was about 12. Passing your little test would be easy, passing muster with your friends though might be the real problem as you seem very elitist & I don't play with elitists. Are you saying Quogues ...more
By G (342), Southampton on Oct 8, 14 2:14 PM
Too many deer is not the problem, too many homes is the problem
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 3, 14 8:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am sick to my stomach. One of the pure joys of rural Remsenburg is the deer, rabbits, possum, racoons, owls. Ticks are not spread by deer, they are abundant because poisoning mice killed off most of the raptors. They travel in all sorts of animals, perhaps we should cull cats and dogs too? This breaks my heart, I watched twins grow up year after year for three years and this year watching the triplets play in my yard was delightful. Perhaps these residents should move to a less rural area, like ...more
By Cay Chandler (6), Remsenburg on Dec 11, 14 8:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am disgusted by this as well. There are many non lethal control methods available. With this type of barbarism, a number of deer are likely to be wounded and never recovered, and there are public safety concerns no matter what. The Humane Society has condemned the bow hunt. Cay & EastEnd68 are correct! These people say they 'like deer, just want fewer of them...' that type of culture of entitlement makes my skin crawl, so I guess I shouldn't be shocked that they would consider killing by high ...more
By Earthgirl (52), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 10:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
Would you attend a meeting this Thursday Dec 18th at 11am at the town hall to advocate to stop this out right slaughter? This was an extermination en masse, no planned cull or strategy at all.
By Cay Chandler (6), Remsenburg on Dec 14, 14 8:41 AM
This isn't management, it's a cull, actually it's annihilation. I haven't seen one deer on my property in over 2 weeks. Not one. How come I was not informed of this? Where was the public notice to residents?
By Cay Chandler (6), Remsenburg on Dec 11, 14 12:49 PM