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Sep 8, 2010 1:24 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Deer problems dominate discussion at meeting

Sep 8, 2010 1:24 PM

WESTHAMPTON BEACH—The Westhampton Beach Village Board held a public hearing last week to test a deer control program that, if adopted, would pair local bow hunters with beleaguered residents as soon as this fall.

Residents came before the Village Board last Thursday, September 2, to recount their horror stories that involved large groups of deer vaulting fences, traipsing through yards, scaring children, causing car accidents and spreading Lyme disease.

“They have eaten almost everything green, including our hedges, as high as they can reach,” said Susan Gugick, a part-time village resident with a home on Tuttle Place. She said she supports such a deer control program for Westhampton Beach.

“I may cry every time I see the movie ‘Bambi’—but not any more,” Ms. Gugick said later.

The deer control program on the table mirrors that of neighboring Quogue Village, which three years ago began allowing hunters, after first securing permission from homeowners, to kill deer on their land during bow hunting season, which begins on October 1 and ends on December 31.

This week, Westhampton Beach Village Clerk Kathy McGinnis said the Village Board would consider public input from the hearing, and would likely vote at the next work session, set for Wednesday, September 22, on whether or not to adopt the program. The goal, Village Board members said, is to make a decision before bow hunting season starts in October, so, if approved, the program could go into effect this fall.

Village Board members said at the meeting that the program would likely require blocks of residents to band together and give collective permission to deer hunters to hunt on their properties. State law prohibits the discharge of firearms—including bows—within 500 feet of an occupied residence unless the owner allows it.

No one spoke out in direct support of the deer, but one resident, former Mayor Bartley Wilenski, asked board members if they had discussed any non-lethal alternatives to the bow hunting program with State Department of Environmental Conservation officials in recent years. Board members replied that the state recommended the bow hunting program, and that other possible programs, such as injecting the deer with contraceptives or sedating them and shuttling them to another part of the state, would not work for Westhampton Beach.

Mr. Wilenski’s wife, Susan, said the deer that run through her yard range in number from five to 22, and destroy her garden—though, she said, that is the least of her concerns.

“My issue is not the plants,” she said. “My issue is my granddaughter, who has severe Lyme disease.”

Ms. Gugick’s husband, Len, said that as the deer population continues to grow, the roads will become riskier for drivers.

“It’s just a matter of time before there are going to be a myriad of car accidents,” he said.

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Take them out. Now.
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Sep 9, 10 12:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
Either take them out or reintroduce the wolf!
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 9, 10 5:41 PM
Poison the carp from the Watermill pond then feed them to the deer.

Two problems solved!

There. I fixed it
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Sep 9, 10 11:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Sep 9, 10 11:46 PM
Why do people think that if you thin the deer population (or eliminate deer from you yard) you are no longer at risk for Lyme disease? The white-footed mouse is the key host for lyme disease. Ticks that feed on the mice become infected - the deer are simply hosts of the ticks. If you eliminate deer, you can still have infected ticks being brought to your property on birds, raccoons, squirrels, mice, etc.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 10, 10 9:55 AM
But the orginary old housecat can't handle the deer problem, can it?

First the deer, then the white-footed mouse!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 10, 10 1:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
We should thin the deer wherever possible. They are not meant at the top of the food chain. They are a prey animal and if not preyed upon by a natural predator (wolf) we need to fill that void whenever possible. Lyme disease is one concern, my main concerns are my flowers, vegetables and safety on the roads. I have hit two deer in a car and had numerous close calls on a motorcycle. They were reintroduced for hunting purposes after being wiped out. Now we have people trying to save the deer because ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 10, 10 9:16 PM
Breaking News: Consultants hired by Southampton Town have just recommended killing all of the animals in the Town of Southampton. That way, the only bothersome nuisance we will have are Bentley's with NJ license plates and SHNative from 27east.com.
By Sparkibew (28), southampton on Sep 10, 10 4:01 PM
We can flush em all out ... Let's build on all available land leaving them absolutely no place to hide . It would be like shooting fish in a barrel .
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Sep 11, 10 7:55 AM
"Horror stories": deer vaulting fences, traipsing through yards, scaring children? Give me a break. The alleged problem is directly related to escalating human incursion into fast disappearing natural habitat. Perhaps the omnivorous "head" of the food chain (so-called "homo sapiens") should examine its practices and attain a modicum of restraint and responsible development in this fragile environment. And for those "hungry" for the targeting (a.k.a., killing) experience: why not actively explore ...more
By Rainfall (22), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 10 1:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
"why not actively explore ... more switching to "shooting" tranquilizers followed up with whatever humane sterilization methods exist."

Ok, are you going to pay for it? Let us know when you write the check.
By omghi (20), EH on Sep 13, 10 7:59 AM
The deer that leaped in front me vehicle from behind a bush on Scuttlehole Road did so while I was traveling at the posted speed limit of 45mph. Peripheral vision was useless, although X-ray vision would have been handy. The other deer I hit was unavoidable as well.

As for planting deer resistant plants, I think that is nice for those who wish to have those plants. I however do not think that these animals should dictate what I can and can't plant. What is your wisdom as to what kind of ...more
Sep 12, 10 11:33 PM appended by ICE
my vehicle....
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 12, 10 11:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Lets not forget that deer running into vehicles is more common than vehicles running into deer.

They're just.... not.... smart...
By omghi (20), EH on Sep 13, 10 8:01 AM
I am a licensed ethical bowhunter. I would love to help out where I can. My friends, family and I all eat what I harvest.


By vinny (1), holbrook on Sep 23, 10 12:10 AM
Start charging them rent, they'll be gone before you know it.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 13, 10 5:39 PM
Sterilizing them what a joke. You need to reduce the herd and maby leave them some land to live on. Stop building houses on every square inch of long island.

lets start knocking down houses were the deer live those people can move in with the house across the street soon we will not have enough houses for people.

By richgetricher (9), northsea on Sep 14, 10 12:50 PM