NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Local leaders are weighing their options on how to regulate the deer population.

A new possibility has many locals torn.

If you ask most Staten Islanders, there’s no question about it: The island’s deer population is getting out of control.

“I think it’s getting to be a problem, a big problem,” said resident Frances Ottino.

How the state may solve the issue is causing rifts. The borough president declined an on-camera interview, but says he met with the Department of Environmental Conservation last week to discuss a possible controlled bow hunt on state-owned property, using crossbows. He says the DEC is trying to work with the property to access its land to significantly reduce Staten Island‘s herd.

WEB EXTRA: DEC Deer Management Guide (.pdf)

“As a dog owner, my concern is ticks,” said resident Tom Coote.

Coote’s also worried about Lyme disease. So, with regulations, he supports the idea.

“As long as it’s done humanely, I guess. You’ve got to control the population. As long as it’s done right,” he said.

Others disagree with this proposal altogether.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” said resident Luis Patino.

“They’re too beautiful to hunt. Beautiful animals,” said Linda Bruno.

“New Yorkers really revere their wildlife and do not want their communities turned into killing fields,” said Edita Birnkrant, the executive director of animal rights organization NYCLASS. Birnkrant says both the state and city have to look at this as a long-term problem, and figure out another way to coexist with the deer.

“Using habitat modifications, fencing. All of those different, nonlethal strategies that have been proven to work. And the city has adopted a nonlethal birth control plan that has been proven to work,” she said.

The island-wide cull of deer is still just a proposal at this point, but that could soon change.

The cull would require a special permit from the DEC. Then specialized organizations would carry out the activities.

Comments (7)
  1. Ellen McSherry Harter says:

    Only somebody very stupid, unevolved and cruel would do this.

  2. Natalie Jarnstedt says:

    A landmark book published by Oxford University Press called, “Lyme Disease, The Ecology of a Complex System” by Dr. Richard Ostfeld, analyzed and synthesized just about every study to date on this topic. Well over 100 studies are examined in the book, and the conclusion is crystal clear and accessible by the general public: There is little to no correlation between deer and Lyme disease. According to the book, only about 30 percent of ticks are infected with Lyme disease. Four small mammals (including white-footed mice) host 50% of the ticks, but account for 90% of infected ticks. That means that all the other possible hosts account for only 10% of infected ticks. There are, in fact, no credible (peer reviewed) studies that correlate a reduction in deer numbers with a reduction in Lyme disease.

  3. Natalie Jarnstedt says:

    State wildlife managers know that hunting actually increases deer herds; it does not reduce them except in the immediate aftermath of a hunt. Since selling hunting licenses is a money-maker for the state, they have no intention of lowering deer numbers permanently. They would like the public to believe that they are trying to reduce deer supporting and encouraging more hunting. Why would they cut off their noses to spite their faces? According to a peer-reviewed scientific study by Richter & Labisky, twinning/tripling of fawns in a hunted hers is 38%, while this percentage drops dramatically to only 18% in non-hunted herds. Do the math, and you’ll realize that deer numbers the following year could actually be greater than in the year that the deer were culled. Bow hunting is one of the most cruel blood sports since many hunters either lose a deer or intentionally don’t bother to follow an injured deer to kill it. Injured deer can live for days, weeks, months, even a year, depending on where they were hit by an arrow, dying of starvation, infection, or just bleeding to death. For every deer killed by an arrow, another deer is out there somewhere, suffering unspeakable pain…..See this video, the story of Braveheart, the deer:

  4. John Dolan says:

    Bow hunting studies consistently show that up to 50% of deer shot with arrows do not die soon enough for the hunter to retrieve them or at all. So what happens is many deer supper disabling injuries and end up in the back yards of families in the area. There are better non lethal alternatives

  5. Joanna Tierno says:

    We have a deer vasectomy program on Staten Island. Do they propose killing deer we already spent money on neutering? The program is humane and is helping. If its not reducing the population enough we need to look at also neutering FEMALE deer. If you look at other states their programs usually target females- for a reason. If we want to be extra aggressive in our approach why not neuter both males & female deer? We will never catch them all so we will still have deer but numbers will surely decline humanely and without anyone getting shot.

  6. Karen Dawn says:

    How long until humans get over the idea that the way to deal with any issue is kill kill kill?

  7. Joan Bonaventura Barnett says:

    Many bow hunters are irresponsible and, if the shot is not deadly, do not track the deer.
    Deer ticks and Lyme are everywhere now, so culling the deer population is moot.
    Also, why is not birth control or sterilization on the table? Much more humane.

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