By Danny Schrafel
A proposal to allow limited, in-season bow hunting for deer in Eatons Neck and Asharoken is coming before the Huntington Town Board next month.
A public hearing was set for Aug. 11 at Huntington Town Hall to consider the change, which Supervisor Frank Petrone said would bring Huntington in line with many other Long Island towns that allow in-season bow hunting of deer on private property.
Deer hunting season for bow hunters in Suffolk County is Oct. 31-Jan. 31, 2016. A special firearms season is Jan. 3-31, 2016, or when a maximum quota of 500 deer hunted is reached, for which a special town permit and landowner’s consent is required.
Petrone stressed that the proposed change is limited in scope and comes after numerous meetings with state Department of Environmental Conservation officials coordinated by the offices of Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-E. Northport) and State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset).
“This is not a group of people, of outside hunters, coming in. This is for residents on their property,” Petrone said. He added that the program is far from a “wholesale culling” of the animals.
Residents in other portions of Huntington, including Melville and Lloyd Harbor, have reported deer population problems.
Ken Craska and Joe DeRosa, representing a majority of the members of the Eaton’s Harbor Corp., said the 187-parcel, 425-plus acre community contain multiple large parcels of virgin, undeveloped wooded land, making it a “perfect place” for deer to thrive.
“It used to be a novelty to see one or two deer. Now it’s commonplace to see 12 to 24 roaming your property,” he said. “It’s becoming an overwhelming situation.”
Craska said the deer population creates a traffic hazard while driving on the winding, unlit roads of the community.
He added that the deer have become “aggressive,” especially during mating season. He said that while taking the garbage out one night, a buck charged at him.
“I mean, I’m cute – but I’m not into deer,” he quipped.
Asharoken resident Drew Mendeslohn told the town board he opposes the proposal. He said he favors medical sterilization to control the population.
“There is a way to do this if some of that effort is voluntary,” he said. Volunteer monitoring would keep the cost down, he added.
Petrone said he expects some controversy with the proposal.
“Some people feel we should not be killing these deer” under any circumstances, he said