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Nov 18, 2014 4:40 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Wildlife Group Opposes Additional Deer Hunting Season

Nov 18, 2014 5:16 PM

The East Hampton Group for Wildlife has made it its mission over the past few weeks to show disdain for any increase in hunting allowed in East Hampton Town, following news that the state is planning to open up more time for hunters.

With more than 1,000 signatures on a petition he created on the website change.org, Bill Crain, the president of the group, approached the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday morning, asking it to restrict additional hunting in January.

The state this year added another bow hunting season in January, in addition to its season from October 1 to December 31, and the State Department of Environmental Conservation is still discussing regulations. Additionally, the state is adding an extension for firearm hunting on the weekends; currently, hunting with firearms is allowed only on weekdays in January.

Councilman Fred Overton said the town cannot control the hunting seasons that the state approves, but it could limit what is available to bow hunters in January by setting its own regulations on town-owned properties.

Mr. Overton said he is concerned that there might be a safety issue created by the “conflict between bow hunters and shotgun hunters,” so he thinks there is reason to separate the two and not allow bow hunters to hunt in January on town land. He said that keeping town land open for firearm hunters only in January would bar bow hunters from approximately 700 acres of land, which bow hunters wouldn’t have had access to anyway.

The Town Board seemed amenable, however, to allowing firearm hunters to go out on weekends, based on the East Hampton Town Deer Management Advisory Committee’s recommendation.

Mr. Crain pleaded with board members on Tuesday not to allow any more killing on town property. “We’ve done enough now,” he said, pointing to the additional 300 acres of hunting land and the village’s plan to sterilize deer. “To add weekends, and more bow hunting, is extremely excessive. It’s really an overkill,” he said.

Just this past summer, the town opened nearly 300 acres of preserved lands or parcels bought through the town’s Community Preservation Fund, to bow hunting, after Governor Andrew Cuomo changed the setback limit for bow hunting, cutting it from 500 feet from residential properties and buildings to 150 feet. The town also added 174 acres at Culloden in Montauk to firearm hunting.

Mr. Crain chided the board for not doing another deer census before deciding on what to do. “From 2006 to 2013, there’s been a decline in the deer population,” he said. “At best, we don’t know what the deer population is.”

From a safety point of view, limiting the amount of hunting, not allowing it on weekends in January, would keep hikers and walkers in the woods safe from ammunition, according to Springs resident Carol Buda, who walks trails with her husband David.

“I encourage the board to think first and foremost of the safety of the people that live here,” she said. “We constantly see kids in the woods with their dirt bikes. They’re not going to stop coming into the woods if you put a sign up that hunting is allowed. I think the expansion of weekend hunting is a tragic accident waiting to happen.”

Bill Gosman, who lives on Fort Pond Bay in Montauk, said he is concerned about the noise additional hunting would make.

“When I moved there, I would hear a few shotgun shots over the winter,” he said. “Then, 10 years ago, when we got a new administration that seemed to let people do whatever they wanted, the noise increased. Boom. Boom. Boom. Two years ago, it got really bad. I counted 120 gunshots in four to five minutes.”

However, Zachary Cohen, the chairman of the Deer Management Advisory Committee, said that adding weekend hunting would help hunters who typically have to take a day off from work to go out. He said a lottery would be in place so that the public would know what properties are in use and by who on what weekends. That data would be used later to analyze what effect the extra weekends might have on the deer population. He said that since it would be in January, a cold month in which hunting is already under way, it wasn’t seen as a major deterrent for hiking.

“We’re talking about another eight days,” Mr. Overton said. “January has been a hunting month anyway.”

The Town Board will discuss whether to allow bow hunters on the same property as firearm hunters on town property, and there will be a public hearing at the Town Board meeting on December 2.

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1000/16000 voters is NOT "overwhelming support" ; the deer herd is a resource to be harvested.
I support the extended hunting opportunity,
By (B) Blank Voter (2), East Hampton on Nov 20, 14 7:32 AM
And how many of that 1000 are even residents? I don't suppose the 'journalist' at 27 east even thought to ask that question.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Nov 20, 14 8:39 AM
And now using kids on dirt bikes as deterrent / there are no kids on bikes they have been outlawed -
Use and say anything to
Push the agenda - Pass the potatoes and corn sounds like good eating this season !��
By (B) Blank Voter (2), East Hampton on Nov 25, 14 7:25 PM