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Oct 17, 2018 10:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sagaponack Village Officials Seek Permission To Hunt On Town-Owned Properties, Including Poxabogue Golf Course

Oct 17, 2018 10:47 AM

Sagaponack Village officials have asked the Southampton Town Board to permit deer hunting on six town-owned properties within the village limits, including the Poxabogue Golf Course, in an effort to control the deer population.

But Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said that the golf course at least should be off limits.

“That’s not fair game,” he said. “To me, that seems like that’s maybe a property [where] we should not allow bow hunting. Basically, it’s a golf course. It’s not a woodland area.”

Town Board members discussed the possibility of opening the six properties—which include, in addition to the golf course, farmland across the street at 834 Town Line Road, 28 and 94 Poxabogue Lane and two greenbelt properties—at a board work session last Thursday.

Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone told the board that Sagaponack Village officials made a request, three to four weeks ago, to extend hunting onto the properties, which the town obtained for conservation and which are managed by the Town Parks Department. In September, after approving a moratorium on deer fencing applications in Sagaponack Village, the Village Board had reached out to Southampton Town about using town-owned properties.

“It’s not a cull … It’s what we might have to do, but I hope not,” Sagaponack Village Mayor Donald Louchheim said at the time.

To organize the hunt, the village has hired a consultant who is responsible for identifying the areas that need to be hunted and bringing in hunters who are properly licensed to reduce the deer population.

“I understand the problems caused by deer quite well,” Mr. Schneiderman said at the Town Board work session. “The obvious transmission of Lyme disease, but also the crop damage and safety issues with vehicles.”

Mr. Louchheim said the village has been asking homeowners for permission to place bow hunters on their vacant land or farmland to manage the population. This town’s permission would be necessary as well.

At the Village Board’s October 15 meeting, Deputy Mayor Lee Foster said the board has been hearing from residents who do not want to see deer killed. “People don’t understand the need to hunt,” she said.

Village Board member Lisa Duryea Thayer warned that deer “soon will be all in the streets if we don’t [get] this under control.”

Still, there were questions when it came to the town-owned properties.

Last Thursday, Councilman John Bouvier said he was concerned about access to the sites for hunters, and where they would park, and Councilwoman Julie Lofstad questioned whether the town would be held liable if any hunters were injured.

Mr. Schneiderman said the town has general liability covering all its properties, and that, despite the request for hunters to get insurance, it would not be needed as “we don’t make the mountain bikers get insurance.”

Board members were not ready to decide which properties where they would allow hunting. Instead, they asked Community Preservation Fund Manager Mary Wilson to come up with recommendations by the board’s next meeting.

JD Allen contributed reporting to this story.

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