Suit Filed Over Deer Cull in East Hampton

Posted on 23 December 2013

By Kathryn G. Menu

Two not-for-profit wildlife organizations and a group of individuals have banded together and filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent a regional plan to cull deer with federal sharpshooters beginning this winter.

The Montauk-based East Hampton Group for the Wildlife and the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons in Hampton Bays, along with 15 residents, filed suit in Supreme Court Thursday against East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village and the East Hampton Town Trustees. In the suit, they ask for a temporary restraining order against the town’s comprehensive deer management plan, and specifically any proposal within that plan that calls for the organized culling of the whitetail deer.

While the lawsuit was served on the town last Thursday and the village on Friday, that same day, the East Hampton Village Board moved forward by passing a resolution to join the Long Island Farm Bureau’s (LIFB) proposal to bring in federal sharpshooters to cull deer herds in municipalities across the East End.

The LIFB’s plan, which it is coordinating with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), entails bringing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sharpshooters to the East End to cull the herd. The program will be funded by the LIFB through $200,000 in funding through the 2013 state budget.

The Farm Bureau has asked East End villages and towns to sign onto the program by committing $15,000 to $25,000, respectively, to have federal riflemen come to their municipalities. The cull will take place in a four or five week window beginning in February, timing Farm Bureau Executive Director Joe Gergela noted was designed to give local hunters a chance to cull the herd themselves during deer season, which runs through late January.

The goal, said Gergela in an interview earlier this month, is to cull 1,000 to 2,000 deer from across the East End. The meat from the culled deer will go to Island Harvest to feed the hungry on Long Island.

The USDA sharpshooters use suppressed rifles and depending on terrain, either trap deer with a drop net, work as a mobile team with a driver, spotter and shooter, or shoot from tree stands. The Farm Bureau will coordinate efforts with municipalities that sign onto the program to identify areas deer herds tend to populate the most.

East Hampton Village has agreed to pay $15,000 into the program and joins East Hampton and Southold town, who have both agreed to provide $25,000 in funding.  Southampton Town has yet to decide on whether or not it will join the regional cull, and Sagaponack officials have said that village would wait until both towns sign on before making its own commitment. The Village of North Haven is pursuing its own organized cull.

While supporters of the plan point to the incidences of tick borne illnesses on the East End, public safety concerns connected to deer and motor vehicle accidents, as well as the financial impact on farms and on private landscaping, critics contend there has been little information provided to show the cull is truly necessary. Local hunters have also opposed the cull, arguing if New York State, and the towns and villages, opened up hunting restrictions, they could thin the deer population themselves.

“There is not enough proof that there is the kind of population that would warrant this,” said Virginia Frati, the Executive Director and Founder of the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. “How can we do this without proof of that?”

“We are not convinced there is an overpopulation of deer,” she continued. “Where is the proof that an overwhelming majority of residents are even for this? Even the hunters are not in favor of this.”

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11 Responses to “Suit Filed Over Deer Cull in East Hampton”

  1. Joe Gergela, from LIFB, says they have $300,000 to cull 3000 deer in previous articles, and the meat will go to Island Harvest to feed the hungry on Long Island. If it costs $100 to process one deer, where is the rest of the money coming from? The numbers do not make sense. These deer will end up in dumpsters. Let the hunters have land access and remove the restrictions, so then can harvest the animals ethically and put them on their family’s dinner tables. Also, after January 14th’s, NY SAFE Act, how is the USDA going to be able to use .243 assault rifles, with suppressors to accomplish this task?

  2. Laurel Alexander says:

    If people follow the money they’ll have their answer to this backwards, sick, horrifying, dangerous, perverse, reckless, bloody, barbaric, planned deer blitzkrieg. Organized deer slaughters originate from the hunting lobby. In fact, it is their master plan put into action years ago. Because hunting has been on the decline for years the paid government officials came up with a fool-proof plan to retain and recruit new hunters.To sell the unsuspecting public on organized deer hunts they demonized the deer, caused public hysteria, caused the deer populations to explode by clear-cutting and exploiting the compensatory rebound effect whereby hunting causes does to speed up their reproduction rates to produce a Maximum Sustained Yield for the following year’s cash crop. Organized deer kills have now reached epidemic proportion thanks to the government wildlife killing agencies such as the Fish and Game, DEC’s, Farm Bureau and most especially the notorious, abusive and cruel USDA Wildlife Services. Together they are a powerful political machine. Documented, peer-reviewed papers testify to the fact that organized deer slaughters are completely and irrevocably ineffectual. Thanks to some local legislators, who are mere vote-sucking, political whores, they provide the final nail in the coffin for not only the deer but their naive, misinformed, duped and ripped off constituency who are made to believe it is all necessary but not to worry….humane. These same people will go to great lengths to try and disprove 21st century, scientifically proven alternatives and want you to believe that this was a very tough decision. HA! Nothing could be further from the truth. Do not let them pull the wool over your eyes with their corrupt science. They are master’s of deception by now. We the people have the power to stop it. Please do something! Don’t sit on the sidelines and feel helpless. We are not helpless. We can stop it together.Let your morals, kindness, ethics, intelligence, and compassion encourage you to do what’s right. The forces of evil cannot survive good forever.

  3. Duncan Haile says:

    Much BUT NOT ENOUGH, has been said about this plan to have federal sharpshooters attract deer to night feeding stations and slaughter them at night in YOUR back yard . Somehow the Farm Bureau and USDA made a unilateral decision for YOU, plan to pay someone(?) With budgeted funds not specifically approved for this. Supplemented by your town funds approved by EACH town’s officials also acting for YOU. For example the mayor of Sagaponack decided to approve it. If you let them do this, what else will THEY do for YOU. This Is wrong on so many levels. If you had the ability to go back in time and stop the slaughter of Buffalo or Native Americans Or wolves etc. would you? Here is your chance to be part of the solution. Please DO sign the petition to insure that “deer problems” are properly defined and dealt with humanely and responsibly based on facts and not hype. E.g. A “deer tick” doesn’t come from deer nor is it related.* Deer are not carriers of or transmitting diseases, Lyme or other. Ticks are carried by all warm blooded animals. Would you allow the USDA to shoot dogs, cats, mice, horses and even people? Of course not! Deer and people populations have surged while vehicle and housing and fence and edible plantings (both agricultural and decorative) numbers have grown. There are wonderful and symbiotic aspects of this growth. And there is conflict. The USDA and YOUR town are choosing to deal with only one aspect of this growth in a horrendous and irresponsible manner. Help stop this needless slaughter. There are Hunting remedies to deer population growth that produce revenue with no more cruelty than culling. There are agricultural solutions – see the North American Deer Farmers Association website There are biological remedies but they are costly. Culling is a messy, cruel and inefficient slaughter – google it and see for yourself. Or better yet ask your officials for permission to observe and film the “humane slaughter”. The rush to cull the deer without due process without adequately defining the real problem(s) can be avoided. When government rushes to do something fast, there is always another agenda.
    * Did you know that they were going to call it the “Hiker’s tick” but hikers knew enough about bureaucracy to call it the deer tick? Talk about passing the Buck!

  4. Laurel Alexander says:

    Or better yet ask your officials for permission to observe and film the “humane slaughter”. Right on Duncan!! Why are all of these so called “humane” slaughters hidden from the public? In most places the police are paid a LOT of overtime to protect the shooters and keep the public from witnessing the barbarism. Tim Setnicka, former superintendent of the Channel Islands Natural Parks, who participated in wildlife culls said, “YOU WATCH THE LIFE DRAIN OUT OF THEIR EYES WHICH BECOMES DULL AS THEY DIE. THIS IS AN IMPOSSIBLE IMAGE TO SELL TO THE PUBLIC OR POLITICIANS WHICH IS WHY NO PHOTOS ARE ALLOWED.” He went on to say, “WE NEVER ALLOWED THE MEDIA TO ACCOMPANY HUNTERS TO FILM THE ACTIVITY. SAFETY REASONS WERE ALWAYS GIVEN AS THE REASON FOR DENIAL OF THEIR REQUEST. THE REAL REASON WAS WE WANTED TO AVOID THE IMAGES OF THE UGLINESS OF THE HUNT.” This is merely a moral abomination! Also, out of sight is out of mind which is what they count on.

  5. Natalie Jarnstedt says:

    We should hire all those crack-shot marksmen “sharpshooters” and those who want to use bow & arrow to kill the real culprits that spread Lyme disease: The black-legged ticks! And we should expose state management of deer for MSY in order to produce more and more for hunters to kill, only to have the public (incited by state & hunters) to complain about too many deer. Police are hired (at overtime pay) to “protect” the hired guns from those without weapons other than their right to free speech. I was accosted by several police cars on the first night of a cull by hired guns on public land in Greenwich in March 2005, armed with a camera. To have snapped pictures of piles of dead deer, lying like sardines in a can, driven out by Parks & Recreation trucks, I would have had to stand on top of the stone gate wall. And what IF I had been able to take a photo, standing outside the park gate on a public street, would my camera have been confiscated?
    Thank you, Laurel Alexander and Duncan Haile for challenging all those lies!

  6. Greg Asher says:

    How can venison be donated to the poor and hungry in good conscience when there is no requirement for food inspection? “wild” deer ingest toxic substances such as fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, you name it. Are the poor considered second class citizens who don’t deserve the same food quality as the rest of us who can afford to purchase food? After all, their immune systems are already compromised due to poor diet, health issues….and please don’t say that the butchering facility is the same as food inspection – it is merely required to be sanitary, that’s all.
    It is a hunter’s choice whether to eat the venison or not – poor people do not have that choice at soup kitchens.

  7. darren Gengarelly SR. says:

    Laurel , your rant kept making me believe you were actually talking about the Whitehouse.
    Greg please educate yourself with facts. Talk about bs scare tactics. geez!!
    We never had deer problems til you all came and took their land. Do you honestly think that venison is tainted?
    Its quite ridiculous how some peolple act solely because they dont get their way.
    Kind of like “save sag harbor”. What a joke. they are the ones ruining it.
    Buncha spoiled NIMBY brats.
    You think its charming now? You should have seen it before you all got here.
    You may think you improved Sag. Do the native locals feel the same?
    Due to the silent majority we may never know. Ask Lauren Fortmiller (ex mayor) about the silent majority. She met them all when she tried to fire our police chief.
    I believe Mr. Tessitore is correct that the same hunters that have hunted these lands for generations should have the opportunity to feed their families as well as give venison to the local food assistance programs.

  8. Ronald Halweil, MD says:

    There is an epidemic of Lyme Disease on Long Island, ticks carry the Lyme organism, as do field mice. Everyone I know out here has either had or knows someone who has a serious health problem from this disease.
    There is no doubt that the population of deer has never been this great in our community. Subsistence hunting of deer kept the population well under control. Large predators like wolves or bears also kept the deer population population down.
    During epidemics doctors have usually recommended measures to protect the populations. In this case reducing deer populations and mice populations would be very helpful. Deer can be culled, sterilized, relocated etc, and mice can be controlled by increasing the native fox population, or the introduction of coyotes into this area.
    Until then we will diligently protect ourselves from ticks with clothing, sprays and careful bodily inspections daily. I often recommend a prophylactic dose of doxycycline when a tick has bitten you.

    I just found out that the cost of doxycycline has gone from 25 cents per pill to $6/per pill, something about shortages of this antibiotic.
    Ronald Halweil, MD

  9. Dan w says:

    Don’t blame hunters, we want nothing to do with this slaughter.
    I hunt, and if I’m lucky I eat.

  10. donna rubino says:

    Governor Cuomo will be notified of this atrocity and believe me, Town of East Hampton, etc. idiots, you will not shoot one deer without his approval – you east end inbreds are not a law unto yourselves, you are governed by the State of New York and I am here to constantly remind you of that fact!!!

  11. Alexander says:

    Deer Huggers versus Dead Young Lady
    I recall a sad, a very sad news story, years ago, about a young lady who was on her way to work in Montauk, travelling on 27 East towards her new job as a waitress, when she was struck by a deer and killed.
    I believe it was her first day of work. Ever.
    I pray that she is resting in peace and that her parents have found hope through God’s tender mercies.
    Deer proponents, imagine if she was your child, or if that doesn’t open and break your cold hearts, then imagine if it was you.
    And this story repeats itself countless times across Long Island, across the USA.
    We have a solution.
    Kill the dear, like we kill the animals that mankind has dominion over.
    It is not cruel, we are not herding them into abominable mega-farms. We are clipping them with a quick, precise shot, they’ll never know what hit them and they will die in the beauty of, say, my friend’s property in North Haven, not some rancid, super-sized polluted pen.
    It is a very hopeful beginning nearing an efficacious, lasting solution for us, and for the deer. They are simply out of their element and hence out of control, crazily scampering around Division Street, frightened and sliding down to Bay Street off Rysam, God knows next they’ll be licking ice cream cones on the Long wharf.
    Come on now, they are not pigeons, they are not meant for any metropolis, huge or tiny.
    Side walk lined towns, like Sag, and antlered, hooved, fishtailing giants cannot live in harmony.
    Face the long overdue reality that has been beaten down, and rendered silent, by a small, very vocal, shrill minority: the deer must go.
    People first, deer … hmmm … thirty-sixth.
    How anyone could make a cogent, not hysterical and emotional, but cogent and fact filled argument otherwise?
    Why should we continue, lo these many, many years, to allow these useless, disease ridden deer to destroy our way of life?
    Most alarming of all imminent threats is to the irreplaceable, God given lives of our children; it is summer, they are bikers, skateboarders, go-cart racers drivers.
    Mamas, Daddies, Aunts, Grandparents, and babysitters with precious kiddos on roller states, and scooters should not have to deal with this menace one day longer.
    The deer lovers have not a shred of pathos for people.
    Their ‘facts’ are paper thin at best. They whine with feeling.
    Just the facts, ma’m.
    And, again, they are the vast minority, the silent majority, must not be cowed, we must speak up and get this job done.
    Justice denied is justice delayed … a liberal once noted.

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