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Town signs won’t include number of deer killed by motorists

East Hampton has scrapped a plan to include

East Hampton has scrapped a plan to include the number of deer killed each year by motorists on warning signs on area roadways. Credit: Doug Kuntz

East Hampton Town has scrapped a controversial proposal to include the number of deer killed each year by motorists on deer warning signs located around the town.

A modified plan will be presented to town board members, said Councilman Fred Overton, the board’s liaison to the town’s Deer Management Advisory Committee. He met with the committee Tuesday at Town Hall.

Overton discussed the original proposal with the board at a Feb. 2 work session and said at the time that signs with the number of deer killed annually by drivers would deliver a dramatic message to motorists to look out for the animals.

In an interview Tuesday, Overton said he will now recommend to the board the continued use of the standard yellow, diamond-shaped signs warning drivers to beware of deer in an area.

Information about the number of deer killed could be delivered through other means such as radio spots, brochures and the media, Overton added.

“There was a controversy about it [the signs with the number of deer killed],” said Zachary Cohen, chairman of the Deer Management Advisory Committee, referring to his discussion about the signs with the town’s Architectural Review Board.

Cohen said some committee members felt there would be too much for motorists to read and at the same time keep their eyes on the road and watch out for deer. He said the general feeling was that a “message at a glance” approach would be best.

Andy Gaites, East Hampton’s deer management coordinator, said 340 deer were killed last year on town roads.

“There are an average of two collisions a day, and we think that’s only half [of the deaths] because that’s town roads, not state or county roads,” Cohen said.

Cohen said the problem has also involved human fatalities, recalling a collision in Springs a few years ago in which a bicyclist was killed.

“A car hit a deer and the deer was thrown up in the air with such force that the deer hit a bicyclist,” Cohen said.

Overton said the new proposal will be presented to the board after an inventory is taken of the deer signs already up in town to determine whether they are in places still populated by large numbers of deer or should be taken down, and to determine where others might need to be added.

Gaites said he expects the inventory to be done by the end of summer to get ready for the fall deer season.

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