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Letters: Debating deer kill to reduce LI herd

Federal sharpshooters plan to begin a cull of

Federal sharpshooters plan to begin a cull of deer on eastern Long Island beginning in February -- the largest federal deer removal program in state history. Supporters say the growing white-tailed deer population has contributed to car accidents, Lyme disease and the destruction of crops and gardens. Opponents say the plan is misguided and the deer have become scapegoats. Videojournalist: Randee Daddona (Dec. 9, 2013)

It was appalling to learn that a tentative plan is in place to kill thousands of deer across Brookhaven and the East End using trained snipers ["The deer kill is a sad necessity," Editorial, Dec. 12].

Another proposal, which would allow bow hunters to come within 150 feet to private residences rather than the current 500-foot regulation, is extremely dangerous and perhaps deadly.

Rather than create an inhumane agenda to deal with the growing deer population, why were methods not in place all along to inhibit the expansion of this docile species across Eastern Long Island? The management of deer populations using birth control vaccines has been successful in national parks for years, when the deer population is still small enough that this method can be effective. Instead, we choose to have hunters in trees in the dark targeting innocent animals. Rather than tout this plan, we should be ashamed to even present it.

Jason E. Hill, Ridge

As a professional ecologist, I have seen how too many hungry deer devour forest saplings, shrubs and wildflowers and eliminate habitats needed by songbirds and other wildlife. We are losing our forests.

Failure to reduce excessive deer herds would be inhumane. More deer would be hit by cars, forest wildlife would disappear, and people would suffer from increased infection from tick-borne diseases, as well as injury or death in deer-auto collisions.

People removed the natural predators of deer and replaced forest habitats with residential areas and farms. Now, only people can reduce deer herds and keep them at levels that will be in balance with their environment.

The use of trained and experienced sharpshooters is the most humane, safe and only option in densely populated areas.

Marilyn J. Jordan, Huntington Station