East End deer in the snow | Photo Courtesy of Romaine Gordon for East Hampton Group for Wildlife
East End deer in the snow | Photo Courtesy of Romaine Gordon for East Hampton Group for Wildlife

East Hampton Town was issued a temporary restraining order yesterday barring the town from implementing a contract with the Long Island Farm Bureau and the UDSA to allow USDA sharpshooters to cull the town’s deer herd, said East Hampton Group for Wildlife President Bill Crain Friday afternoon.

Both East Hampton Town and Village announced this afternoon that they’ve decided to not participate in the cull.

Mr. Crain said the Temporary Restraining Order prohibits the cull from going forward until after Feb. 10, when the parties in a lawsuit brought by Mr. Crain’s group and other wildlife advocates will again meet in court. The advocates had named both the town board, the town trustees and East Hampton Village in the suit.

“It appears certain the Town of East Hampton will not be in a position to participate in the Long Island Farm Bureau program this year,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Councilman Fred Overton, who serves as liaison to the town’s deer management committee, in a memo to reporters Friday afternoon. “However, if participation is open next year and a more complete environmental analysis is completed, the town can reconsider. In the meantime, we recommend the town continue implementing the Town Deer Management Plan.”

In the memo, they pointed out that the response from property owners who want to participate in the cull has been minimal, the town has received correspondence indicating there may be additional litigants looking to sue the town at both the federal and local level, and the town will likely need to prepare an environmental impact statement before going forward with the cull.

The town board will discuss the matter further at their work session this Tuesday.

East Hampton Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach issued a statement Friday afternoon saying “it was the intent and desire of the village to address wildlife management issues with a regional approach, but as surrounding municipalities have not committed to participate, it no longer seems a project the village can tackle on its own. The village remains committed in moving forward in this manner with its local government counterparts.”

Southampton and Riverhead towns are not participating in the cull, and Southold Town has been threatened with lawsuits due to their staunch support for the program.

Protesters took to the streets of East Hampton en masse two weekends ago to argue against the cull.

Mr. Crain said he sees the temporary restraining order as “a significant victory for the deer.”

“I believe the cull will be stopped in the long run, too, because it lacks scientific basis,” he said.  “Whereas the Town Board’s deer management plan and the Village Mayor’s comments point to growing deer abundance, the scientific surveys indicate an East Hampton deer population in decline. The cull actually threatens to wipe the population out.”

“In addition, contrary to what the cull’s advocates say, researchers have not found a link between deer populations and Lyme disease because disease-carrying ticks also feed on other animals,” he added. “The cull is based on a false sense of panic and resorts to killing rather than seeking humane ways of co-existing with the deer.”

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

12 thoughts on “East Hampton Deer Cull Grinds to a Halt

  1. I can finally breathe (for now). I pray the town will look into speed limits, deer warning signs and educate people on how to co-exist with these beautiful creatures.

  2. I write the Madravenspeak living wildlife column for the Capital Times in Wisconsin where the state agency is just a killing business. Trapping and killing has been expanded to all public lands including state parks for the hunters to have a “successful” experience. The state announces to its killer clientele every year that it is growing the deer herd another 175,000 ( kill trophy bucks, leave does to grow the next “crop” for “harvest”).

    We the people must organize to reform state agencies which are funded on killing licenses and guns and ammunition taxes to general public funding and a first time democracy for the 95% majority who are wildlife watchers. We can live with our wildlife humanely and return natural carnivores and large mammals to the environment. The latter are being destroyed worldwide at an alarming pace and we may not have them in a few decades.

    Pay attention to your wildlife now. Wildlife populations have plummeted worldwide 35% in the past 35 years and we are at a tipping point of biodiversity collapse:

    What the wildlife serial killers do not want you to know is that wildlife watchers bring 10-40 times the revenue of hunters to state tax coffers helping our wildlife ( bird feeding, watching, hiking, camping and traveling to sites like Yellowstone to see wolves.) We are just not organized. Organize locally.

    I have raised fawns ( illegally – the Wisconsin state agency would kill them if found orphaned ) – and they are the sweetest, gentlest, most adoring and kind beings. ALL LIFE IS SACRED. All life is just like us – made of fragile sentient being to be respected and loved for its individual manifestation of life.

  3. Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” and you cannot fool the people of the Hampton’s! Some very good points have been brought out in this article. I wish that they lived in New Jersey. People here just go along with whatever they are told .

  4. Brilliant move by the town and its forward thinking residents. Revenues from wildfire watching far surpass those brought brought in by hunters.

  5. This is a try important resolution. Never, ever, destroy the lives that was given to us. We are all partners in this world, just in different shapes and forms. But, we obviously were meant to live together. Slaughter is out of the question. I wish the rest of the world would “get it”.

  6. Live and let live! Too many deer, means they have no predators to keep a balance in nature.
    Culling is not a way to balance.

  7. I think these creatons kill animals because they can’t kill people. I can’t even imagine why anyone would want to shoot an innocent, beautiful animal. How cowardly!! People flying across the country, they need to kill so bad. Imagine going to Canada to kill a bear. OMG…

  8. The euphemistic term “culling” is used instead of killing to help mitigate the emotional, adversive impact that the word killing invokes. Just one more method of diluting the violence and trying to make it more acceptable to non killing everyday people who love animals.

  9. hurray sooooo happy they stopped this disgusting killing of these beautiful animals we are supposed to live together god made these beautiful animals to live with us not be killed by some crazy people its very scary that there are people out there that sign up to kill something so innocent and beautiful .

  10. As stated use killing not culling. Wildlife Services is paid by us to kill, trap, snare, poison animals. Too many deer? Too many people. We are not more important than wild animals. Hunters should have to prove that they need to hunt or they will starve which is almost never the case. Many hunters would love to kill every deer or bear .

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