Tag Archive | "hunting"

Oh Deer! East End Wildlife Groups Plan “No Cull” Rally for Saturday

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By Tessa Raebeck

Plans to unleash federal sharpshooters on the East End deer population have been met with bureaucratic setbacks and vocal opposition, but are moving forward nonetheless.

In coordination with the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Long Island Farm Bureau (LIFB) plans to hire USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) sharpshooters to kill deer with high-powered rifles to cull the local herds.

In addition to carrying tick-borne illnesses, causing car accidents and adversely affecting other animal habitats, deer destroy an estimated $3 to $5 million worth of crops annually on the East End, according to Joe Gergela, LIFB executive director.

Gergela said the cull, which will be largely funded by a $200,000 state grant, aims to kill 1,500 to 2,000 deer. All processed meat will go to Island Harvest to feed the hungry on Long Island.

“We felt whatever we did with the grant should be for community as well as farming benefit,” Gergela said Wednesday, adding a cull is crucial to having a successful agricultural industry.

LIFB has asked that villages and towns who want the sharpshooters sign onto the program by committing $15,000 or $25,000, respectively.

The DEC has yet to reveal whether it will require a single permit for the program or make each municipality signing onto the program file individually. Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said Tuesday although many municipalities have expressed interest in joining the program, they don’t want the legal liability of having the permit in their name.

So far, East Hampton Village, Southold Town and the eastern part of Brookhaven Town have signed on.

North Haven Village opted out, but is pursuing its own organized cull.

Sagaponack Village’s participation is contingent on the participation of both East Hampton and Southampton towns.

Southampton Town has thus far stayed mute on the subject — which has been under public discussion since September. Calls to Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst were not returned as of press time.

The East Hampton Town Board, under the previous administration, adopted a deer management plan that included plans for a cull. On Tuesday, however, newly elected Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he was unsure if the town would, in fact, join the LIFB in this initiative.

“At the moment, it’s up in the air,” Cantwell said, adding he would like to see culling on a limited basis and there are advantages to participating, but the town’s decision will be based primarily on the opinions of its residents.

“To some extent,” said Cantwell, “this is happening fairly quickly in terms of building a community consensus moving forward.”

The East Hampton Group for the Wildlife, the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons and 13 individuals have filed suit against East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village and the East Hampton Town Trustees.

The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order against the town’s deer management plan and specifically, any proposal that calls for an organized cull.

“The lawsuit,” Cantwell said, “is certainly a factor in the decision-making process about this.”

Critics contend little information has been provided to show the cull is truly necessary.

“Killing other beings as a way of solving the problem is abhorrent, unethical and monstrous to me,” said East Hampton Group for the Wildlife President Bill Crain. “These are living beings with families and social lives and emotions, so to kill them just seems like a moral outrage.”

“It’s not about animal cruelty and all the nonsense that the Bambi lovers are spouting,” Gergela said. “If they would sit down and listen to people, they would realize there are no practical solutions other than to hunt or to cull.”

A petition on change.org to stop the “stealth plan to brutally slaughter 5,000 East End deer” had garnered over 10,600 signatures as of press time. In addition to local residents, activists from as far away as Belgium have signed the petition, which calls for the “unethical, ‘quick-fix,’ non-science-based plan” to “immediately cease and desist.”

A rally in protest of the cull will be held Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. at the Hook Mill in East Hampton.

Gergela dismissed the opposition as a “vocal minority” of non-locals with “no vested interest other than they enjoy animals and they enjoy their peaceful weekend on Long Island.”

“That’s very nice,” he added, “but for those of us that live here, whether you’re a farmer or a general citizen that’s had an accident, that has Lyme Disease or whatever, everybody says to me, ‘You’re doing a great thing.’”

Local hunters have also expressed their opposition to the cull, arguing if state and local governments lessened hunting restrictions, they themselves could thin the deer population.

Terry Crowley, a lifelong Sagaponack resident whose family has been hunting on the East End for generations, called the cull “a little ridiculous.”

“They should just change a few laws so more deer can be killed,” Crowley said Tuesday.

Thiele is working on legislation that would implement the state deer management plan, which has a number of recommendations to increase hunting opportunities, including expanding the January season to include weekends and allow bow and arrow hunting.

Cantwell voiced his support of such legislation.

“I certainly want to work with the local hunters who want to take deer,” the supervisor said Tuesday, “because I do think that removing some deer from the population on an ongoing basis is necessary to control the population.”

Hunting and Fishing Through the Ages

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web 10K hunting fishing

by Emily J. Weitz

When you look out across the water and see a bayman scraping the sandy floor with a long rake, there is something about it that feels timeless, even primal. Maybe that’s because some of these methods of fishing and hunting have been around for thousands of years, and are still used in roughly the same ways, for the same purpose: to feed and clothe our families. It may not always be so direct – the diet of a bayman might not be all what he catches, and a hunter may not be walking around clothed only in fur. But still, the bounty of this place continues to serve those who hunt and fish, just as it did thousands of years ago. That’s the subject of the current exhibit at The Southampton Historical Museum at Rogers Mansion, which will be on display from this Friday through October 29.

Obviously, a great deal has changed since the earliest humans were hunting and fishing in the area. But David Bunn Martine, curator of this exhibit and director/curator of the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum, argues that much has also remained the same.

“Through the lifestyle of baymen and their families, especially in East Hampton,” he said in a recent interview, “it’s stayed the same a great deal. They use a lot of Native American techniques.”

Some of the techniques that remain common practices for local fishermen today were learned from Native Americans.

“Fishing with pound nets, fishing from the shoreline, and fishing with traps are ancient techniques indigenous to this area,” explains Bunn Martine.

Through looking at the development of the artifacts, you can also see how these practices changed over time, and how Native American practices influenced the hunting and fishing practiced across the East End today.

“Five thousand years ago, eel spears and eel rakes were used that were very similar to the ones the English settlers used,” says Bunn Martine. “Modern ones are made out of metal or iron, but they look similar.”

Replicas of many of the tools that were (and in some form still are) used for fishing and hunting will be on display at the exhibit.

“We have a dug-out canoe we made out of pine at the Shinnecock Museum,” says Bunn Martine. “Also we have reconstructed objects, like simulated fishing tools and hunting tools like spear throwers.”

There will also be stone arrowheads used for hunting deer and small game as well as other period artifacts like basket nets, basket traps used for fish and old fashioned netting featured in the exhibit. Paintings, like large pieces depicting the Paleolithic period on Long Island and others showing whaling ceremonies from the relatively recent 1700s, will also be on display.

Evidence of hunting on Long Island dates back at least 10,000 years, and there have been fifteen finds of Paleo points (arrowheads or spear points), to prove it. However, archaeologist Jo-Ann McLean of Jo-Ann McLean Archaeological Consultants, points out that “These Paleo points were found all over Long Island. They were never associated with a site where there was an encampment. This leads us to believe these were travelers passing through hunting.”

So the most ancient of hunting practices were likely nomadic peoples roaming through the rich natural world of Long Island and hunting for deer and other game.

One significant aspect of preparing this show, said Bunn Martine, was in the recreating of some of these objects. Even though nets, lures and traps can be purchased in stores, there was a time when everything needed to be constructed at home. At the Shinnecock Museum, people are now learning to make these things again.

“We want to learn to make these things again by hand using traditional materials like plant fibers,” says Bunn Martine. “We are learning how they made nets and fishing tools by hand, how they made lures and hooks and cordage. It’s part of our tradition… We are getting back in touch with traditional material culture: basket making, net making, object making. These are things we’ve been researching for years but [this exhibit] is another manifestation.”

Hunting and fishing, and all the processes that go with them, are deeply embedded in the life and culture of the East End. Still integral to the survival of many local families, these practices are as ancient as human existence in this area. This exhibit is an opportunity to see just how far back Long Island people, and their traditions, can be traced.