Huntington Town Board votes to allow bow hunting of animals
The Huntington Town Board voted unanimously on Wednesday to amend town code to allow bow hunting of deer in Eaton’s Neck under the direction of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The board’s move was in response to Eaton’s Neck residents’ concerns of deer overpopulating their communities. Residents there have told town officials that they believe the animals have contributed to increased car accidents, tick-borne illnesses and a downgrade in their community’s quality of life.
“I think the Town Board did a great job in recognizing the fact that we have a problem,” Joe DeRosa, an Eaton’s Neck resident, said in a phone interview. “It’s a fantastic decision. It took the courage of the board to make this difficult decision.”
The decision comes after a heated summer-long debate, with some residents strongly in favor of this resolution, and others staunchly against it.
Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said that this resolution takes the town’s firearms legislation, and amends it to include deer hunting with bows on private property with the approval of the property owner after the hunter has obtained a DEC permit.
Deer hunting season is just around the corner, starting on Oct. 1 and ending Jan. 31.
The supervisor said that homeowners themselves would go in and decide how they want to handle hiring a hunter to shoot deer on their property.
“We’ve gotten community groups and civic groups involved,” Petrone said. The groups will help find someone qualified, a deer hunter or deer hunter group, to come in. He called it a safety measure, so “it’s not just ‘Joe the hunter’ coming in.”
Deer hunters need to be approved by residents before they hunt on the residents’ private property. Petrone said hunters would most likely have to sign something like a release before hunting.
Also, in a separate resolution, the board voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing to consider adopting a law to introduce a deer management program.
Petrone said he recognizes that some residents say that bow hunting is not favorable, and that they are more interested in a method to reduce deer numbers through using contraceptives. He said he’s been researching annual contraceptive drugs, which require tagging deer, tranquilizing them and following up every year. He has also learned of a drug called GonaCon, a contraceptive drug that would only have to be given once. The company that is offering this drug would actually pay for this drug, because they want it to be used, according to Petrone.
“A deer management program will provide for various alternatives,” Petrone said. “One of the things that’s really being looked at is the contraception concept.”
Concepts are also being looked at for herding programs, to help round up deer, and get a count of how many deer there actually are in the area.
“What this is is we’ve started the process, because there is a need to begin,” Petrone said about the mission of the management program. “Let’s now get into sophisticating this as a real management program.”
Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) supported all the bills on the deer issue.
“I recognize the seriousness of this issue for the residents of Eaton’s Neck,” she said in a phone interview.
In terms of the deer management program, Berland said, “it’s a natural second half of this.”
“I think we need to look into deer management; we need a long-term plan. Not everybody wants hunting on their property. We have to appeal to everyone.”