Each year the town board hits the road, making stops in each hamlet to foster community discussion on the issues the public feels are the most important. This year one problem in particular has taken center stage: deer.
Deer management has been a long-standing problem within the town, supervisor Scott Russell said during Tuesday’s work session. In response to the outcry the town will host a forum next month to discuss the past and future of deer management on the North Fork.
The meeting will focus on the latest information and developing a multipronged approach to address overpopulation. Participants will include representatives of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Long Island Farm Bureau and Eastern Long Island Hospital.
In addition to impacting the local economy through their impact on agriculture, deer have also had a major impact on health through the role they play in spreading tick borne illness.
“Ticks present a problem in their own right, but deer are an excellent host,” he said prior to the meeting. “They are able to move the ticks and disease throughout the entire community. That’s health crisis particularly for a community of retirees that are vulnerable to those illnesses. Everyone knows someone who has had a tick borne illness or is current battling one. It’s only going to get worse.”
The forum is scheduled for Thursday, September 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Southold Town Recreation Center.