JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO
A fabricated news article is making the rounds online which features a falsified The Suffolk Times article and advertises an early bowhunting season in Southold Town.
The work of fiction dated Jan. 2, 2014 falsely stated that Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell announced that bow season would be starting earlier this year “in an effort to assist the deer cull on the East End.”
The bogus “article” claims that bowhunting season would run from Feb. 1 thru March 31. It also states that the state Department of Environment Conservation would “waive the 500-foot buffer between hunter and residents and allow hunters to hunt within 100-feet of homes,” that “DEC is allowing hunters to bait” and “there will be no limit to deer taken.”
Southold Town is indeed planning to pay sharpshooters through the United States Department of Agriculture to come in and cull the deer herd, a topic which has gained a fair share of notoriety in everything from local letters to the editor to coverage on The New York Times editorial page. However the allowances for the federal contractors — which include baiting and hunting at night — will not be given to local hunters.
On Monday, Mr. Russell called the work a hoax, adding that the statements made were falsified — almost completely.
“Just about everything stated in the article is simply not true,” Mr. Russell said Monday morning. “Except for the date — it is in fact 2014. Everything else is incorrect.”
In reality, archery season came to an end in Southold Town on Dec. 31 and a special firearms season is still in effect, with proper permits, until Jan. 31, he said.
The source of the bogus report is unclear, however Mr. Russell said that it was spreading via social media and email during the past week. The supervisor met with Police Chief Martin Flatley to discuss the matter Monday morning, but no action has been taken yet, he said.
Grant Parpan, executive editor of the Times/Review Newsgroup, which publishes The Suffolk Times, commented on the shoddy reproduction of the article.
“If we had anything to do with this, we would have designed it to look nicer,” said Mr. Parpan. “I think that design is from the 1990s.”
This isn’t the first hoax concerning the local deer cull to hit the East End in recent weeks. In mid-December, Dan’s Papers informed the public that lions would be released to deal with overpopulation of deer.