East Hampton Town’s deer management advisory committee has recommended increased deer hunting on town lands here in order to thin the deer herd, but wildlife advocates are questioning the effects of deer on the environment and asking for better data.
The committee has recommended allowing experienced hunters access to town properties where hunting is otherwise not permitted and where signs of environmental damage caused by deer are evident. Among the properties selected are the 11-acre Brooks-Park preserve on Neck Path in Springs and a 14-acre former brush dump between Cedar Street and Bull Path in East Hampton.
The recommendations were presented at a town board meeting on Tuesday at which the board listened to differing points of view without comment. Among the speakers was Carol Buda, a member of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife as well as the town’s deer management group, who claimed, “There’s no exploding deer-population crisis.” Rather than reducing the herd, a better focus of the town’s efforts, she said, would be to address the incidence of Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks for which deer and other mammals are hosts.