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Feb 26, 2014 9:32 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

North Haven Seeks Multi-Year Deer Culling Contract

Feb 26, 2014 10:44 AM

North Haven Village is negotiating a possible multi-year contract with a private deer-culling firm.

Three weeks after the North Haven Village Board voted to begin negotiations, the village granted access on Monday to the minutes of its February 4 meeting after at first denying a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to the minutes, Village Mayor Jeffrey Sander was authorized to engage in negotiations with White Buffalo Inc., a Connecticut-based firm whose website claims it has removed more than 9,000 deer from suburban neighborhoods nationwide. The minutes indicate that Mr. Sander hoped to finalize a contract by the end of this month.

“The reason for the cull is to get the level of the herd down to manageable numbers,” Mr. Sander said, according to the minutes. “Recreational hunting has been able to keep pace with the growth but has not achieved any substantial reduction over the last four to five years. Something extraordinary, other than recreational hunting, must be done.”

Last summer, the village’s deer and tick committee recommended several measures to address tick-borne illnesses and deer-related motor vehicle accidents. According to the minutes, Mr. Sander said the primary recommendation was to “reduce the herd as much as we can.”

Although specifics, such as on which properties the cull will take place, are elusive, Mr. Sander confirmed certain aspects of the program on Monday. He said it will involve the use of shotguns to kill more than 100 deer if all goes as planned. He estimates the total population to be about 200 to 250 deer, although some have disputed that number.

Mr. Sander also confirmed that the contract would cost about $15,000 for the first year, although White Buffalo’s website says a cull could cost as much as $400 per deer. In the St. Louis area, White Buffalo reported charged a municipality $54,000 to cull about 125 deer recently.

“I believe [the cull] will be a multi-year program,” Mr. Sander said at the February 4 meeting, according to the minutes. “Whether we have to do further culling ... will remain in terms of how successful this program is.” He added that however long the program is maintained, the village will be gathering data on the deer population to measure its effectiveness.

The minutes described other tactics the village intends to use, such as supplementing the cull with contraception programs funded by the 2014-15 budget and putting 4-Poster units throughout the village to control ticks. The 4-Poster units, which cost about $5,000 each and could be paid for with a state grant, spray permethrin on the coats of deer as they feed, poisoning the ticks they carry.

Before the meeting minutes were turned over on Monday, messages left for Mr. Sander at home and on his cellphone over the course of about three weeks went unreturned. Every village trustee contacted, four of the five, either did not come to the phone, return messages or agree to comment on or divulge what had transpired at the meeting.

Village Attorney Anthony Tohill did not respond to messages left at his law offices.

Dr. Anthony DeNicola, co-founder and president of White Buffalo, did not return calls left on his cellphone starting February 7.

One trustee, George Butts, answered his phone once, and said that attaining approval at the state level would not be a problem; deer nuisance permits are in place for North Haven properties. According to Mr. Butts, that means that the village can hire a company for a cull throughout the 2.7-square-mile village without the consent of the affected property owners. “We would only need the permission of the board members,” he said, without offering further details.

Village deer management specialist Al Daniels did not return messages left at his home and at Village Hall seeking further clarification on that point. When asked to discuss the matter on Monday morning at Village Hall, Mr. Daniels walked away and found Mr. Sander.

At that point, Mr. Sander said, “We’ve been advised by our attorney to not talk about any of that, or what happened at the meeting.”

He confirmed that the threat of a lawsuit, which has stopped proposed culls in other municipalities, was what was behind the village’s reluctance to discuss the matter. Mr. Sander also declined to comment on where the contract talks with White Buffalo stood.

Wendy Chamberlin, co-founder of the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island, which has spearheaded legal opposition to culls proposed in other municipalities, anticipates that her group will bring a lawsuit against the village.

“This is a very typical Tony Tohill response to things,” Ms. Chamberlin said by phone last week, referring to the village attorney. “It is just like, don’t respond, never say anything. This isn’t at all the transparency one would expect from elected officials. We’ve been playing chess with a ghost and going on intuition with the lawsuits.”

Ms. Chamberlin said her group would continue to fight the North Haven plans, however.

“We will file a lawsuit. It wouldn’t be fair for us to allow [Mr. Sander] to go forward with all the people we know that are against this idea,” she said. “... We have to be consistent and fair and follow our ethical tracks. We’re going as fast as possible to file the lawsuit, and I think we’ll stop the cull. I don’t think they’ll ignore a lawsuit.”

As to when the lawsuit will be filed, Jessica Vigars, a lawyer with Young/Sommer LLC, which represents the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island, said, “We’re still evaluating the case and trying to get a sense of what is going on, but the trouble is getting info from them. We’re in the process of trying to determine what they did or didn’t do, because our clients are very concerned that the village isn’t acting appropriately.”

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If Al is such a deer specialist, how did the problem get so bad in North Haven? Maybe they should cull him & the other cronies who think they can act in secret without residents consent.

What about the mice you morons? No ticks on N Haven mice? Too declasse?
By G (342), Southampton on Feb 26, 14 10:07 AM
Hiding from the press and refusing to comment on one's behavior may be great legal strategy for private individuals but such behavior is unethical for elected public officials in a democracy when questions concerning their official conduct arise.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Feb 26, 14 2:17 PM
As a North Haven resident, I applaud the effort to cull the deer herd. Thanks to those in our local town hall for clearly doing the right thing here. Don't be bullied by threats of frivilous and downright stupid lawsuits. Action needs to be done swiftly to significantly reduce the herd on a long-term basis
By Dayo (33), Sag Harbor on Feb 26, 14 5:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
This mayor contacts an out of state agency to deal with a problem that out local hunters are more than willing to handle? This is an outrage and this action will be contested.
By Sleeping Giant (20), Southampton on Feb 26, 14 6:44 PM
What part of we dont want this do they not understand,

By They call me (2826), southampton on Feb 26, 14 8:22 PM
We are in the midst of an epidemic of serious diseases carried by the deer tick. More and more are being discovered including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan viral encephalitis, all of which can be fatal. The deer epidemic caused the Lyme epidemic. In 1930 there were just 300,000 deer in the US. Today there are 30 million. Over 10 years ago we learned that the solution is deer removal. Lyme epidemics were stopped by deer removal in Mumford Cove CT, Great Island MA, and Monhegan Island MA. ...more
By Jdl59 (7), Milton MA on Feb 27, 14 5:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By LocalHunter, Eastport on Feb 27, 14 7:53 AM
Jd159 is just a shill for the kill. Both mice and deer are the ticks preferred hosts. More ticks are found on deer simply because they have more square footage than mice.... Can we get a mouse cull going in N Haven? Lets not forget the ticks also like any other warm blooded animals. Maybe just eradicate all animals locally so we can be safe? I'll say it again - Morons!
By G (342), Southampton on Feb 27, 14 8:25 AM
G168, you are wrong and do not understand the life cycle of the deer tick. There are four stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. Only larvae and nymphs can feed on mice. The egg-laying adult requires a size able mammal to feed on, and 90 percent feed on deer. Thus the deer is key to the reproduction of the tick, and removing the deer disrupts the deer life cycle. In Great Island MA, the deer population was reduced to a deer density of 8/square mile and the tick density was reduced 80 percent. ...more
By Jdl59 (7), Milton MA on Feb 27, 14 7:51 PM
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Does Ms. Chamberlin live in North Haven?
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Feb 27, 14 9:41 PM
@Jd159. I'm no deer specialist like Al Daniels - but having had Lymes disease twice and having hit a few deer in the last 25 yrs - I do know a bit about the ticks. Your information is both wrong and misleading. A bigger issue is this. What will keep deer from returning to and repopulating areas where they were culled from? The answer is simple - nothing. With the reproduction rates of deer, almost 75% would need to be killed to really make a difference. Plus, ours like to swim. Since I was a child ...more
By G (342), Southampton on Feb 28, 14 7:31 AM
so if north haven is going to pay an outsider to go and shoot the deer,I think all of the local hunters should send in bills for all the deer they have taken with there bow"s,$400.00 per is fine with me.
By taxpayer1 (72), Southampton on Mar 1, 14 9:11 AM
Good read: Ethical customers and suppliers are becoming increasingly informed about the treatment of animals and are boycotting companies that support cruel practices. This results in a negative impact on a business’s bottom line and could potentially lead to bankruptcy, according to organizational psychologist Clare Mann, publisher of The Animal Effect magazine.

"To ignore the implications of this, believing that your organization has little to worry about, is to ignore a massive ...more
By earthspirit (16), Southampton on Mar 2, 14 5:31 PM
Does Wendy Chamberlin, the president of the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island live in North Haven?
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Mar 2, 14 6:41 PM
Not sure that she does ... But I have and in the late '80's I managed the deer hunts/culls on North Haven. The problem here is not the cull. The cull is necessary as development has provided the herd a perfect environment for white tail deer that formerly did not exist. Deer do not fare well on land covered in bull brier and laurel but they do love the kind of edge habitat that has been created by the clearing of land and planting of shrubbery. To quote Pogo "We have met the enemy and he is us"! ...more
By Split Rock (68), North Haven on Mar 5, 14 4:41 PM