With homeowners footing the bill, federal sharpshooters will spend a few days this fall killing deer in Nassau Point, town officials announced this week.
Lee Humberg of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services pitched the program to Southold residents at a deer management forum last fall, though he cautioned at the time that the hunting teams charge between $1,500 and $2,500 per night of work. He estimated that, on a good night, the USDA team could take 50 deer.
Most of the residents who spoke at last year’s forum said either that they’d faced severe health problems due to deer tick-borne diseases or that deer were overrunning their properties and eating their landscaping and crops.
The federal program is just one of several in which Southold is participating. This fall’s bow hunting season under the deer management program begins Oct. 1 and continues through Dec. 31. The town has also received a nuisance wildlife permit from the state DEC allowing 16 hunters to target deer on town lands year-round beginning Jan. 1.
Deputy director of public works Jeff Standish and land management specialist Laura Klahre told the Town Board at a work session Tuesday that they have chosen town lands without hiking trails for the hunt, and participating hunters were screened by the town for their reliability and safety record.
Ms. Klahre is also working with Suffolk County to open up more than 600 acres owned by the county or jointly owned with the town for Southold’s fall bow hunting program.
The USDA has not yet set a date for the Nassau Point hunt. The town plans to notify homeowners when the dates are finalized.