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Committee: More money needed for deer cull


When Deer & Tick Committee members come before the Town Board with a budget request for 2019, they should be prepared to make a case for a proposed 18.2 percent increase in spending, Councilman Jim Colligan told them at this month’s meeting.

Much of the increase from $159,533 allocated for the current year’s committee budget to $188,500 members will seek for 2019 is to cover costs for a stepped-up deer hunt.

The committee sought $20,000 for its deer reduction program for the current year and has already exceeded that by $1,000 with three months to go for the recreational hunting season starting October 1.

This fall, the committee will be asking for $30,000 for its deer reduction program. That includes ongoing efforts to take more deer during the recreational hunt that runs from October through January, and a Nuisance Wildlife Control Officers (NWCO) program that took 50 deer during the February and March hunt on town-managed properties.

The NWCO hunt by specially licensed local hunters and their friends during the February and March nuisance hunt involved only three hunters. In 2019, Animal Control Officer (ACO) Beau Payne seeks to at least double the number of NWCO hunters.

Since the program was new last year, there was little advance time to get more hunters licensed to participate in the nuisance hunt. Given the level of success the program achieved last year, ACO Payne hopes to attract more specially licensed hunters to that part of the hunting season.

He’s also hoping to convince more Islanders to allow hunting on their properties.

An incentive that proved useful in 2018 is the placement of a refrigeration unit at the Manhanset Firehouse where hunters can hang their deer for a few days until they are ready to reclaim them for their own use or deliver to butchers to be made available to the public without charge.

Another budget request will be a $10,000 allotment to hire a part-time animal control officer to assist Mr. Payne. The 4-poster program will continue, but some units are in disrepair and money is needed to replace them.

There’s also a budget line for $7,200 — up from $2,000 this year — for office and miscellaneous expenses. That’s to include maintenance of an ACO vehicle that in past years has come from the Police Department budget.

In October the Town Board will meet with department and committee heads to review budget requests before the adoption of the 2019 budget, expected in November.