Deer have moved into town and Southold wants them out.
Deer have moved into town

East End lawmakers have spent years wrangling state legislators to try to allow bowhunters to hunt closer to houses, as the increasing suburbanization of the region has left hunters with far less ground to hunt.

They got their wish this Monday with the passage of the 2014-15 state budget, which includes a provision allowing bowhunters within 150 feet of homes. All other hunters are required to stay at least 500 feet from homes.

Southold Town Board members have been among the most active proponents of the change, pointing out that if you draw a circle with a radius of 500 feet centered on each of the homes in the town, there is very little huntable ground left.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell has cited the restriction as one of the prime reasons the town was left with few options but to call in a controversial group of USDA sharpshooters to cull their deer herd over the past month.

Governor Andrew Cuomo included the hunting change in his draft budget, released in January, stating that it “would maintain a safe distance for engaging in the sport while making available for hunting more lands in suburban areas, which would increase hunting opportunities, and help manage locally over-abundant deer populations.”

The state budget also now allows crossbow hunting in upstate New York, but not on Long Island, where only compound bows may be used.

Both the prior DEC restriction and the newer, more lenient restriction, apply to houses where hunters do not have the owner’s consent to hunt. Under the old regulation, if homeowners consented or the property was owned by the hunters or their immediate family, they could hunt closer than 500 feet from houses.

Most hunters, however, are not hunting in their own backyard.

Though hunters can now hunt on lands open to hunting that are within 150 feet of houses, they are still not permitted to hunt on private property without consent of the homeowner.

“I am pleased New York State has eased the restriction on bow hunting because more land will available for hunting, which is an important component in controlling the deer population,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell after the changes were announced earlier this week.

East Hampton Town has just this week added a deer management page to their website, which provides contact information for hunters and landowners to help coordinate deer management on private property, and information on the town’s arial survey of the deer population and tick-borne illnesses.

“We are optimistic that we will be able to work in cooperation with landowners and hunters who come forward to learn more about the rules and regulations set by NYSDEC and work toward bringing the deer population in East Hampton to a more sustainable level,” said Town Councilman Fred Overton, the liaison to the Town Deer Management Advisory Committee.

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

4 thoughts on “Bow Hunters Will Be Allowed To Hunt Closer To Houses

  1. Horray!!!!! Bow hunting closer to home is a huge improvement. Thanks for your efforts in this regard. Deer in our communities use the homes near us, including our own, to avoid hunters opportunities. This will significantly improve bow hunting – we have over a million deer in NYS and their population needs to be reduced. Thank you!!!

  2. This is hands down the best thing to happen for wildlife, sportsman and residents in many, many years. This ruling now gives state, county and town land managers opportunities to manage deer on their properties and the outskirts of suburban neighborhoods that have been over run. residents benefit with better and safer living conditions and a lower rate of deer /car collisions. wildlife benefits because the deer over browse and eat all the under story which is most often replaced with non native plant species which rapidly changes the ecosystem and sportsmen benefit for two reasons. 1. it creates more viable hunting opportunities and 2. It gives hunters and sportsman’s groups the opportunity to work with residents, land owners and town and state leaders to create a viable and sustainable deer management plan here on Long Island that saves taxpayer money and increases revenues for local businesses visited by sportsmen. Deer also provide an incredibly healthy resource for local organic meat that more and more people are beginning to rediscover every year. I’ll take venison over store purchased, steroid infused beef, pork or chicken any day. This is a good thing.

  3. Many hunters, who feel the compulsive need to kill animals, get into bow hunting to extend the length of their hunting season and to increase their opportunities to shoot animals with a variety of weapons, including rifle, shotguns, pistol and bow. These individuals just can’t seem to satisfy their bloodlust, and bow hunting provides an additional opportunity to take animals’ lives.

    Bow hunters are well aware that their action will always cause slow death to these sentient beings as they wait the recommended 30-45 minutes, or up to12 hours, while the animal is struggling in pain and dying; as one book for bow hunters recommends, “just hang back and have a smoke.” And while for a normal compassionate human being, deliberately causing pain and suffering to innocent animals is incomprehensible, bow hunters find fun and enjoyment in these cruel acts.
    There is clearly some psychological disconnect in those who display so much aggression and violence against animals, and who feel the need to transcend character flaws or attempt to overcome other inadequacies in their lives by dominating innocent and defenseless animals. Key features of a sociopath include committing acts that harm others, a lack of feeling remorse and a clear absence of empathy for others, all of which apply to bow hunters.

    It is high time that the American public condemns this outrageous and brutal form of “recreation,” that causes so much suffering to so many animals. Both science and common sense teach that other animal species have the same capacity to experience emotions such as pain and suffering, joy and love, as we humans do. Violent behavior such as hunting is therefore a great injustice and discrimination against our fellow beings, who share with us the simple desire to live a good life without being harmed. Andrew Coumo it’s time to go. You have lost my vote next election. Your first duty is public safety and allowing hunting 150′ near private homes is outrageous .Shame on you.

  4. Cuomo has done more to hurt NY sportsmen and women than any single person in this state’s history. The implementation of SAFE Act is not only going to cost NY state 36 million dollars a year, it has created a hostile environment for both in-state and out of state sports men and women and shooting enthusiasts who now risk committing felony crimes for the countless technical criminal violations created by the SAFE Act for possessing items which can be purchased over the counter in all our neighboring states. He will be requiring criminal checks for the simple purchase of ammunition. Cuomo keep your gimmicks, you cant buy approval from NY State outdoor enthusiasts.

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