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Jan 21, 2009 3:41 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Dead fawn served as reminder of cost of hunting

Jan 21, 2009 3:41 PM

After they spent three days on a hunger strike outside of East Hampton Town Hall to protest the opening up of more town land to hunters, the last thing Bill and Ellen Crain wanted to see was a dead deer. But after they packed up their signs on January 7, the last day of their hunger strike, the first thing they saw when they pulled into a parking lot in Montauk was the carcass of a newly killed fawn bleeding in the bed of a pickup truck.

Mr. Crain was shocked, but after calling the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to see if it was legal to kill a fawn and finding out that it was, he was outraged. “It’s time to develop compassion and empathy for our fellow living beings,” a weary-looking Mr. Crain told the East Hampton Town Board at its meeting on Friday, January 9. “All of you who have pets, we all know that each is an individual. Each wants to live. We wouldn’t allow hunting of pets. Why is this any different?”

Though Town Supervisor Bill McGintee responded with his oft-repeated comment that there are only so many local hunters, and the town is not expanding hunting, only the grounds available for hunting by residents, Mr. Crain wasn’t convinced. “We’ll see how many animals are killed,” he said, adding that the addition of a 2-acre parcel for waterfowl hunting on Gerard Drive ensured that many more birds will die this year than in the past. “These are incredible species that traveled thousands of miles,” he said.

Mr. Crain may have at least one friend on the Town Board as he seeks to curtail hunting and convince the town to consider contraception and other methods of controlling the deer population.

Town Board member Pat Mansir said that she feels “the time has come when we are not a hunting society,” though she remembers her parents warning her to stay out of the woods because of hunters when she was a child. With so many houses in close to hunting grounds and so many hikers taking advantage of the town’s woodland trails, she said that hunting needs to be re-examined here.

“I feed deer,” she said, adding that a doe often brings her babies to feed in her backyard.

Town Board member Brad Loewen was quick to jump on her comments. “You’re breaking state law. You’re simply not allowed to do that,” he said.

“Pat has no culpability. She was unaware,” said Mr. McGintee, as Ms. Mansir reacted in shock to the news.

“I have nothing but the highest regard for you and your wife,” Mr. McGintee told Mr. Crain. “This is something we will discuss in the

upcoming months.”

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Mcgintee was dead wrong with his statement that "Pat has no culpability. She was unaware". Ignorance of the law is no defense! If that's his attitude to the law then it is no wonder that East Hampton Town is in dire financial straits.

That it is illegal to feed wild deer is a well known fact...at least over here in North Haven...It has come up time and time again in the local papers.

Given the headline and lead I also hope the editor of the Star sees fit to move this piece to the ...more
By Bill (68), North Haven on Jan 14, 09 3:50 PM
Whoops...I meant the editor of 27East should move the piece to the opinion page
By Bill (68), North Haven on Jan 14, 09 3:54 PM
It's OK to feed birds, chipmunks, rabbits, racoons, beavers, stray dogs or
cats, but not deer. Let them starve to death or be killed by hunters. These are the Laws of the State of New York!

The deer have a strong advocate in Bill Crain. I hope Bill and his followers are successful in their endeavors to protect wildlife.
By Montauk Bob (1), Montauk on Jan 15, 09 11:28 AM
It's illegal to feed deer.
It's legal to kill them.
I don't get it.
By Avatar (15), Westhampton Beach on Jan 17, 09 1:30 AM
for all you deer feeders, have any of you had that incurable nerve disease/pathology known as lyme disease? have your children? (lyme is TREATABLE, not curable, you'll always be a carrier). deer are such cute parasitic hosts!
By saggish (8), sag harbor on Jan 17, 09 8:11 AM
According to actual medical sites, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease actually starts with MICE. Deer, along with other animals, such as the family dog, then pick up the contaminated ticks. Deer actually take the ticks AWAY from homes when they pass through. The mice stay put. Case in point: North Haven. Since they've erected mile high wire fences, Lyme disease has actually INCREASED. The ONLY way to keep deer out of your yard is with a 5-6' high solid wood fence - deer will not jump anything ...more
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Jan 20, 09 4:06 PM
Fawn = Tender venison ! Yum. :-)
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jan 25, 09 2:34 PM
I'm glad I don't live in EH where it appears ignorance of the law is an accepted defense! To Montauk Bob and Avatar: it is illegal to feed deer because of the threat of spreading chronic wasting disease. (You can read all about what that is on the DEC's website). Princeton, NJ outlawed hunting and guess what happened? Their deer herd got so out of control that they now pay sharpshooters a ton of taxpayer money to exterminate deer at bait piles like rats. It's the only feesible solution their ...more
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Feb 1, 09 11:55 AM