Deer Debate, Part Deux


A bit more about the deer cull, since that’s what is on everyone’s lips these days. Since last week’s column I’ve gotten a ton of feedback from both sides. It remains, and likely will remain, a vexing debate.On the anti-cull, pro-hunting side, I heard several folks mention that in addition to expanding the number of tags a person can get in a season, the state should be expanding the number of tags a hunter can get at once. A hardworking blue-collar guy with multiple jobs and multiple kids and multiple bills, may not get a lot of time off. If he has a free weekend or a couple extra days off at Christmas time, why not let him have two or three tags in his pocket so he can fill his family’s freezer and consolidate the hours he has to spend butchering into one evening?

Another suggestion that I had forgotten to mention last week has taken an actual step toward reality already. The state has a proposition before it that would trim the distance a bow hunter must be from a road or house from 500 feet down to 150. This will allow hunters to utilize more open space reserves behind or within subdivisions and maybe even a large estate or two outside the villages.

With regard to the idea of parsing out deer meat to non-hunters, for a fee, the point was made that selling wild game is not permitted by the health department. It would have to be done in some form other than a retail situation. I was thinking something more like the way the CSAs and Dock-to-Dish program operate, with members joining and being given the product. Like I said, put a profit, however small, behind it and your deer population problems will be solved in short order.

On the pro-cull side, I heard a lot of mentions of deer that simply will never be able to be hunted in some areas. They have moved into the sprawling lawns and landscaped forests of estates and postage-stamps of vacant land in the villages and south-of-the-highway neighborhoods where hunting will never be legal. It’s a difficult hurdle that hunters say would be solved incrementally as deer herds are thinned elsewhere and those deer move out of the residential enclaves.

But it seems from the accounts of East Hampton Village and the farmers in Sagaponack and Wainscott that some form of focused effort to reduce the ensconced deer populations may be necessary. And that’s fine, as a last resort. Considering the extent to which debate has boiled to a froth over it in the last month, it may be something that should be put off, at least for a bit, to see how it can be minimized.

Emma made a venison meatball sub the other night that might have been the best thing I’ve eaten, so I’m all for a deer meat CSA operation.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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