By Kathryn G. Menu
Following months of debate on how the Village of North Haven should counteract its burgeoning deer population, on Tuesday night the North Haven Village Board agreed to look at establishing a village committee to explore all deer and tick mitigation options.
The board also passed a resolution agreeing to pay Vision Scan $6,507 to perform the first deer count in five years. This is so the village can understand what kind of deer population it is dealing with as it moves forward with plans to encourage culling of the herd as one method of combating tick borne illness among its residents.
For several months the village has been mired in a debate about whether it should adopt a tick management plan similar to Shelter Island Town, which has used 4-Poster devices, duel deer feeding stations that apply a powerful tickicide to deer, as a method of abating tick borne illness.
The concept was met with both support and opposition and the village board ultimately decided there were too many questions surrounding the 4-Poster program. Instead, the board chose to look at an aggressive hunt of deer in North Haven.
On Tuesday, board member Jeff Sander said he would like to establish a committee, including a representative from private homeowners associations in North Haven, to look at deer management.
Village attorney Anthony Tohill agreed it was a good idea, but cautioned at the size of the committee. He also produced a large volume of literature he has personally researched on deer management, taking from sources like the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and other public and private entities that have studied this very issue.
Tohill noted if the village does adopt a deer management plan it will have to include a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) of the proposal as it is considered a comprehensive land use plan.
“If you read the literature on this, [4-Poster] is not the only way,” he said. “There are lots of ways to do this.”
For example, in Connecticut the state was responsible as they technically owned the deer, similar to New York, noted Tohill.
In one report, Tohill added a study in Lyme, Connecticut showed a reduction in deer, but an increase in tick borne illnesses during a 4-Poster study period.
“And the USDA apparently has huge resources available to states and local governments in terms of culling deer,” he said.
Taking an academic approach, said Tohill, should “stop the hostility of this debate and focus it on gathering of information and focus on the actual science.”