Hunters Are All For The Idea, But Local Residents Express Some Concerns

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The new year will bring new deer-hunting rules in Suffolk County.

As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported Monday, the season for both gun and bow hunters has been extended through the end of January, including weekends.

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The season was originally set to end Wednesday.

The state Department of Agriculture estimates some 30,000 deer live in Suffolk. They are blamed for the spread of tick-borne diseases, auto accidents and crop damage.

“Obviously, the human health concerns when it comes to tick-borne illness is really what is pushing the recent concerns,” state Department of Environmental Conservation deer biologist Josh Stiller told CBS2’s Dana Tyler.

“If you let the deer population continue to grow there are going to be car accidents,” hunter Jack Rohan of Wantagh added.

But even as the deer-hunting season is extended, officials in some East End villages and towns prefer more humane methods of deer population management and are experimenting instead with contraception and surgical sterilization.

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The state’s deer-culling sharpshooter program last spring was widely considered a disappointment.

However, hunter Craig Dahlgren said alternative solutions that have been tried have not worked.

“I think hunting is the best way. It’s getting done for free. No one is paying us to do this and we’re actually paying to do it. I spend between $500 and $1,500 a year on hunting supplies,” Dahlgren said.

Some homeowners bordering the hunting grounds said they’re worried that weekend hours will bring a flood of hunters from across the Northeast. Weekend hunting had always been allowed upstate. On Sunday it will start on Long Island.

“I don’t think it’s a real good idea, especially on the weekends when the kids are home,” said Christina Velasquez of Ridge.

“I’ve seen it before, you know. They’ll drop a deer at the corner of your property and get blood trails all the way back there and that’s not right,” added Stan Lee, also of Ridge.

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