Village Opens Fire On Culling Season
To curtail accidents caused by the recently explosive deer population in Lloyd Harbor Village, officials, for the eighth consecutive year, have commissioned a seasonal deer management program.
The culling program, licensed in conjunction with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, aims to significantly reduce the population of wild deer that have come to plague the village for the past 15 years.
According to Lloyd Harbor Deputy Mayor Jean Thatcher, the population “exploded” in the area in the late 1990s and since then has caused car accidents and outstripped natural food resources, becoming a danger to public health and safety.
“We don’t have a hunting culture, and there are no top-line predators [in the area], so all of a sudden you see an enormous problem, and what you see is a tremendous increase in accidents; and a deer accident is nothing to be taken lightly. While sometimes nothing happens…. they can be fatal accidents, and before you know it, it’s on you,” Thatcher said Wednesday.
With a highly concentrated deer population near the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Lloyd Harbor and further concentrations toward Caumsett State Park, the village has allowed a deer culling program to take place overnight during the winter months.
Thatcher said that licensed cullers execute their operations – and the deer – during the nighttime and said the shooters are professional “state-certified” employees who are granted license to shoot.
“The deer population, unfortunately, has exploded and become a matter of public health, safety and environmental degradation. We take this problem very seriously and have taken steps to put in place a rigorous program which, we believe, will result in a far more controlled situation,” the village board said in a Dec. 30 letter to residents.
The village will donate all venison to Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank in Hauppauge. Thatcher said the food pantry, which shares all food with the hungry and homeless population in the area, has worked with the village and accepted the venison donations over the past few years the program has been intact.
According to the deputy mayor, the deer population was not native to the Lloyd Harbor area but rather, swam over to the region via shipping channels and wound up in the village where more than 30 percent of the land is preserved as open space.
Thatcher said the program encourages public education and that the village board and management program abide by strict guidelines set by the DEC.
Lloyd Harbor residents who hear anything of concern in the nighttime are instructed to contact the village police department should they wish to investigate.
A woman who answered the phone at the village police department, however, said the deer management program has been relatively quiet over the past month because of the inclement weather.