Deer-Tick Committee to recommend new job

JULIE LANE PHOTO |Deer and Tick Committee member Jim Colligan told colleagues Wednesday morning Silver Beach residents whose properties are within 500 feet of a bird sanctuary, are being asked to allow bow hunting to cull deer.

Just a month after the town’s Deer and Tick Committee was charged with trying to shave costs, members agreed Wednesday morning to ask the Town Board to hire a full-time manager.

No price tag was discussed. Councilman Ed Brown, liaison to the committee, begged off being part of a subcommittee to outline responsibilities for a new manager. But Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr., Committee Chairman Mike Scheibel and Police Chief Jim Read agreed to meet to identify the role of a new employee.

Currently, various responsibilities related to deploying and servicing 4-poster units to reduce disease-carrying ticks and cull the deer herd are carried out by town employees with other jobs to do, specifically, Police Chief Read and department employee Jennifer Zacha, Mr. Card and highway worker Nick Ryan, who has been handling the deployment and servicing of the 4-posters.

The 15 to 20 units have taken Mr. Ryan away from many other public works responsibilities, Mr. Card said. With the expectation there would be 59 units around town this spring and summer, Mr. Card said Mr. Ryan would have no time for other work.

The person hired to manage the deer and tick program should have a science-based background, perhaps be a hunter and be trained and certified to dispense the tickicide used in the 4-posters, Mr. Card said. That person should coordinate paperwork, including tracking of deer kills reported by hunters and the butchering of the deer and distribution of deer meat. He or she should also be able to do testing to determine the numbers of ticks in various areas of the Island.

While Mr. Scheibel appealed to Mr. Brown to support the hiring by presenting it to his colleagues on the Town Board, the councilman made it clear he’s not sure how he feels about adding another job.

Committee members also addressed the shotgun hunting season underway through the end of the month and plans to get nuisance permits from the DEC to enable hunting to continue in some areas in February and March. A number of hunting sites are on private property, not open to all hunters. Sachem’s Woods in the center of the Island and Section 9, off Ram Island’s First Causeway, are closed for town-managed deer hunting that began this week and will continue until further notice. Signs are posted in these areas to alert hikers to the dangers of walking through such areas, Chief Read said.

Mr. Scheibel said during the bow hunting season at Mashomack Preserve, he has found over 10 years that there’s no need to shut down hiking trails, but during the shotgun season, he does impose a shutdown to avoid accidents.

Nuisance permits are expected to be in use at the Shelter Island Country Club at Goat Hill in February or March, at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club and, possibly, at Silver Beach in the area of the bird sanctuary.

Committee member Jim Colligan reported that 74 percent of Silver Beach Association members who participated in a recent meeting voted for a “significant reduction” of the deer population in that area of the bird sanctuary. Mr. Colligan still has to get permission from the 20 homeowners whose properties are in that area.

In promoting the Silver Beach culling operation, Mr. Colligan said the neighborhood association board did it to promote the “health, safety and comfort of the residents.”