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Shelter Island Deer & Tick Committee redirects $15K to culling herd

Deer & Tick Committee members have agreed to recommend redirecting $15,000 from the deployment and maintenance of 4-poster units — feeding stands that brush deer with a tickicide, permethrin — to culling the deer herd.

At the same time, committee members generally agreed that each of the three prongs of the town’s program — culling, deployment of 4-poster units and education — are distinctive and not in competition for resources.

The town’s request to be exempt from new state Department of Environmental Conservation rules affecting placement of the units was turned down. The DEC requires that 4-posters can only be placed in areas where 100% of residents within 745 feet of the units agree to their deployment. 

Even if local officials can make the case for a reversal by the state, it appears there won’t be many, if any, deployments of the units this spring.

Animal Control Officer Beau Payne told committee members he’s waiting for word from residents on whose property the units have been placed, but has already heard from neighbors of two such properties that they object to placements, meaning two units of the 31 deployed by the town last spring and summer won’t be used this year.

He’s expecting most who allowed the units on their properties in the past would do so again, but isn’t expecting 100% approval from neighbors within 745 feet of any unit. 

Alex Navorro, who represents Mashomack Preserve on the committee, said he doubted the six 4-posters deployed there would be used if the town ends up unable to deploy units outside the preserve. But he added that no firm decision has been made by Mashomack staff.

The committee opted not to meet in February when chairman Dr. James Bevilacqua will be out of town. But the decision was also motivated by the expectation that additional information wouldn’t be available until early March when Officer Payne would have a better handle on how many 4-poster units, if any, might be deployed this spring.