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Mar 26, 2014 10:15 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

North Haven Appears To Have Completed Its Deer Cull

Mar 26, 2014 10:37 AM

North Haven Village appears to have completed a deer cull this week without a lawsuit from anti-culling advocates tripping it up.

According to a contract between the village and White Buffalo Inc., a Connecticut-based wildlife management firm, the village paid the company $15,000 to perform the cull starting March 6 and ending no later than March 31.

The goal of the cull, according to the contract, was to achieve the “maximum reduction of the local deer population.”

Freedom of Information Law requests for information about the cull—the number of deer killed, the number of hired hunters used, and on what properties it took place—have not been answered by the village.

What is known is that the village permitted the use of shotguns and that the initial goal was to remove about 100 deer from a population that Village Mayor Jeffrey Sander has estimated at about 250, although even rough numbers are elusive.

Michael Tessitore, president of the group Hunters for Deer, which has opposed planned deer culls on the East End, said he heard through connections in the hunting community that North Haven cull eliminated 22 deer. That number could not be independently confirmed.

In early February, North Haven Village officially announced its intention to perform its own cull, separate from a United States Department of Agriculture and Long Island Farm Bureau cull that was proposed in other municipalities on the East End.

Hunters and animal rights activists teamed up to oppose the USDA culls, successfully putting a stop to most of them.

But there was so little information about North Haven’s plans that legal action was delayed. Mr. Sander said village officials had been advised by their attorney, Anthony Tohill, to stay quiet to avoid an injunction.

“We’ve been ripping our hair out in complete shock that public officials are behaving this way,” said Wendy Chamberlin, co-founder of the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island, which spearheaded the legal opposition to other culls. “We have no recourse. They can’t just do this. Isn’t it, like, really illegal? I hope every single one of these people get voted out at the ballot box. Every one of these idiots—entitlement and arrogance.”

The village took three weeks earlier this month to respond to FOIL requests about the contract itself, which was signed on March 5. The Press finally obtained a copy on Monday, March 24, from Ms. Chamberlin’s lawyer, Jessica Vigors.

Village officials and White Buffalo CEO Dr. Anthony DeNicola repeatedly declined to comment on whether a contract existed. Village officials would only disclose that they officially entered contract negotiations with White Buffalo on February 4.

On Monday, after The Press had filed four FOIL requests for the contract, beginning in mid-February, Village Clerk Georgia Welch said she did not see it herself until March 18, even though it had been drafted by the village and signed by both Mr. Sander and White Buffalo CEO Anthony DeNicola on March 5.

“I had five business days, right?” she said on Monday of the required turnaround time for a FOIL reqest. “The contract was just put on my desk a few days ago, it was the first I’d seen it. I had five days.”

Mr. Sander told a reporter attending a village budget work session last week not to expect any news about a deer cull. “Watch out for deer on the road!” he said, smiling, as the reporter left the room.

Deputy Mayor Dianne Skilbred, giggled, smacked the mayor, and said, “You’re so bad, stop messing around.”

Evidently the cull had been going on for weeks already.

Ms. Chamberlin’s group had filed a lawsuit earlier in March seeking an injunction to stop the cull, which she said it will drop. As part of its deer management plan, North Haven will most likely begin to utilize other methods of deer and tick control.

The village intends to use 4-Poster units to control ticks that feed on deer. The 4-Poster units, which cost about $5,000 each and could be paid for with a state grant, spray permethrin on the coats of deer as they feed, poisoning the ticks they carry.

But further use of White 
Buffalo for future culls is probable.

“I believe [the cull] will be a multi-year program,” Mr. Sander said at a February 4 board meeting, according to the minutes. “Whether we have to do further culling ... will remain in terms of how successful this program is.” He added that however long the program is maintained, the village will be gathering data on the deer population to measure its effectiveness.

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Hats off to a village that stepped up and did what had to be done, regardless of the flak.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Mar 27, 14 2:50 PM
How sad that psychopathy won the day over compassion. Let us hope that the condition is not contagious.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Mar 27, 14 3:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Key Lime disease is contagious unfortunately.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Mar 27, 14 4:30 PM
One question.. Was this deer killing carried out with taxpayer funds??? If so the public has the right to know the facts .The veil of secrecy must come down. Shame on North Haven.
By earthspirit (16), Southampton on Mar 31, 14 7:48 AM
The whole thing was a money grab, its all about money
By rchamb1203 (8), east northport on May 20, 14 9:04 AM
Their secret solution is not going over well with many people in the community."They're turning our community into an open-air slaughter house,"
The community feels disrespected. "The idea that this has been secretly going on out in the shadows is really upsetting," a local resident said.
There's no way that people in this community had any idea that trapping and bolting of deer was happening all around our town, with our taxpayer money. Next election it's time for these officials and their ...more
By earthspirit (16), Southampton on Apr 4, 14 9:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Election time is Cull time. Cull them
By rchamb1203 (8), east northport on May 20, 14 9:05 AM