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Jan 7, 2014 5:27 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Deer Kill Faces Permitting And Funding Obstacles

Jan 7, 2014 5:27 PM

Plans by local municipalities and farmers to hire federal riflemen to thin the South Fork’s deer population have encountered a new speed bump—in the form of permitting complications and the unexpected costs of processing the deer expected to be killed.

Nonetheless, organizers of the program say they are proceeding with the intention of carrying out the “cull” in late February or early March in Southold, East Hampton and Southampton towns.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has yet to sign off on the plans, and it is still not known whether the agency will allow a single permit to be issued for the East End-wide program or whether it will require each municipality where the hunting will take place to file a separate application—additional steps that could delay the cull.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said there has been some discussion about whether each municipality would have to file for a permit, as well as completing a required environmental impact statement, for the hunting to be done within its boundaries, or whether the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is conducting the actual hunting, will file a single application and impact statement.

Mr. Thiele said he saw the most logical approach being that the USDA would receive permit approval, with only a single impact statement required, which would allow the hunt to take place as planned this winter. A spokesperson for the USDA, however, said that the standard is for each local municipality to submit an application to the state agency for a permit.

Officials at the DEC this week declined to comment on how the agency expects the permitting applications to be handled. No applications have been received as of yet, an agency spokesman said.

The program calls for a team of three federally trained and certified hunters to kill deer with high-powered rifles at night. The teams, who work for a division of the USDA, will use bait to attract groups of deer and either shoot them with high-powered rifles outfitted with night-vision equipment and gun silencers, or net them in bunches and dispatch them at close range.

The USDA has estimated its shooters could kill as many as 40 deer per night in some areas, nearly a thousand in the month or so planned for the culling program on the two Forks.

Each deer would be gutted by the hunters and removed from the property where it was killed. But the Long Island Farm Bureau, which proposed and is funding the hunt as a way of reducing the damage done to crops by growing deer herds, says that the cost of turning the deer killed by the sharpshooters into meat to be given to food pantries could force the scope of the hunt to be tailored considerably.

Farm bureau executive director Joe Gergela said that processors have told the USDA it will cost between $50 and $80 to have each deer butchered and processed so its meat can be delivered to local food pantries.

“We’re hoping to get some help with the butchering costs,” Mr. Gergela said. “The more help we get, the more deer we’ll be able to take. Unfortunately, there is not unlimited funding for this.”

The farm bureau received a $200,000 grant from New York State specifically for deer management on farmland. The USDA charges the owner of each property its sharpshooters remove deer from. If the culling program is implemented, the farm bureau will pay the portion of the costs for any farmers who want to participate and grant access to the federal sharpshooters.

The USDA and the farm bureau have touted the sharpshooter teams as the most humane, painless and effective way of reducing the deer herd. The program has been met with opposition from animal rights groups and some local residents, including a lawsuit filed by animal rights groups last month to stop East Hampton Town and East Hampton Village from participating in the program.

Mr. Gergela has dismissed the opposition as a “vocal minority” made up mostly of non-residents of the areas where the deer pose a nuisance and threat to private property.

Local hunters have also opposed the program, saying herd control would be better achieved by increasing the number of deer recreational hunters may take during the winter through traditional bow-and-arrow and shotgun hunting methods.

Mr. Thiele said that he and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle are working with officials from the DEC on new legislation that would expand deer hunting opportunities on the East End.

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It is amazing that the rules for killing deer that exist for hunters are suspended for the government riflemen. Why not let legal, local hunters expand the hunting to include the weekends. More hunters would be able to participate, thus culling the herd and avoiding butchering costs as the hunters use the meat.
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Jan 8, 14 11:40 AM
3 members liked this comment
From the end of the article:

"Mr. Thiele said that he and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle are working with officials from the DEC on new legislation that would expand deer hunting opportunities on the East End."
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 8, 14 12:44 PM
How about no. How about we get the population under control first and then expand the hunting and open up additional areas. This is not being undertaken lightly but something needs to be done now. Not tomorrow, not next week or next month or next year.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jan 8, 14 12:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Chances are that litigation will cull the cull in my opinion, increasing the odds for legislation to promote hunting as one solution to this complex problem.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 8, 14 12:47 PM
God forbid that such a cruel, useless program should be delayed. Before it's too late, let's get that half-million dollars (!) SPENT for a slaughter that minimal research would show will NOT reduce the deer population; will NOT retard the spread of Lyme Disease, and will NOT decrease deer/vehicle collisions.

Or - we could substitute a program of signage urging the deer to practice safe sex.

It will be just as effective and about $498,000 cheaper.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 8, 14 1:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wait, you area deer and sign expert? Are those signs engineer grade or reflective prism? Are they going to be text, maybe bilingual or a pictograph format for international deer. Heck it is just the government spending money, you love it when the government spends money; it is just like Obama's stimulus plan but local.

Think of all the people the cull will feed, you want to help the needy don't you? And jobs, think of the jobs it will create; hunters, butchers, truck drivers. Hey ...more
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jan 8, 14 3:52 PM
Chill, he was joking about the signs!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 8, 14 3:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Although many humorous pictograph signs came to mind, for signalling to the deer that unsafe sex was banned!

Did you ever hear the Barbara Walters joke in which she asked a certain leader about issues like this?

"No, . . . too high . . . "
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 9, 14 6:33 AM
Come on, we all know the deer ignore the Deer X-ing signs. What's gona make them pay attention to these too. I like the idea of selling the venison to the general public. Its a good way to raise money to fund an ongoing contraception program maybe.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jan 9, 14 9:50 AM
I dunno, he is a flaming liberal, how can you be sure he is joking about the signs.

Just kidding, I am sure HHS would hire a translator for the deer, maybe give them EBT cards and sign them up for Obamacare...or would Medicade be better, hmm.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jan 9, 14 1:12 PM
Sorry but I can't hold it in……TOLD YA SO, JOE. The deer will end up in dumpsters if the USDA comes in, because not one butcher in New York State will process the meat, at our request. Want the problem corrected, help Hunters For Deer make the politicians change the Hunting Regulations in DMU 1C, giving your support. Farmers better smarten up and back the Hunters before we pull back the olive branch.
By MichaelHunter (76), East Quogue, New York on Jan 8, 14 10:13 PM
This is "hunting" like knockout attacks are a "game". This method is astonishing hunters all over the country who know it is misguided and ultimately cruel and ineffective. Expanding bow season 3 months earlier would attract real hunters and solve any over population. One farmer was quoted as saying he would not use deer fencing as it was aesthetically unpleasing. Terrified Animals struggling in nets while being shot and watching the others get shot is more pleasing? Shooting bucks whose antlers ...more
By bambi (76), bridgehampton on Jan 9, 14 6:52 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is just perfect! Really?

So much misinformation is being shoved down our throats from this so called, "cull".
How ironic is it that the state gains revenue from sportsmen that obtain licenses and tags, yet, they want to pay " riflemen" who don't, pathetic!
As a avid bowhunter for over 22 years, 15 on Long Island, let me tell you first hand, the " riflemen" will kill deer in the fields, in the parks, in the Land Trust lands, however, Whitetails live in and on estates, near ...more
By Treestandwolf@optonline.net (1), Southampton on Jan 11, 14 3:35 PM
The DEC must drinking some crazy water. It also wants to eliminate mute swans on Long Island.

Another " non-native, invasive species, brought to North America from Eurasia for ornamental purposes in the late 1800s."

How about the when the on-native species Homo Sapiens invaded Earth? What should we do about them?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 17, 14 6:56 PM
Whoops, "non-native" at the end.

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 17, 14 6:58 PM
PBR - if you do your research you will quickly understand how devastating mute swans are to native waterfowl populations, habitat, water quality and water clarity. Several other states have taken the same measures to reduce and/or eliminate mute swan populations. In fact, Maryland has been exceedingly successful in population reduction over a 10 year period.

I don't understand your claim of "the non-native homo sapiens invad[ing] earth". We are a species native to this planet. Homo ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 18, 14 10:25 AM
Your points about the damage caused are well taken.

Reduction and control are one thing, but "eliminate" is another. [the DEC's exact word]

The specter of big government doing a swan "cull" to eliminate them ALL (did you see the map at the DEC link?) seems far-fetched and not do-able. Fraught with ill-considered aspects IMO if true eradication is the goal.

Yes, cheeky on the Homo Sapiens comment, sorry to cloud the water.

The Co-Incidence of the swan cull on top ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 18, 14 12:00 PM
PS -- True Cullamaties?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 18, 14 12:01 PM
PBR - Maryland reduced the population from 4,000 in 199 to 208 in 2010. http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/pdfs/2011_MUSW_MDMagtPlan.pdf
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 18, 14 12:34 PM
Thanks, have a good weekend.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 18, 14 12:52 PM