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Letters: Island divided on killing deer

Reader Nina M. Scaringello seems to assume that wildlife, with the exception of squirrels and birds, belongs upstate ["Deer so docile, and yet so dangerous," Expressway, Dec. 14].

She claims that the dangerous wildlife threatens the human world it enters. Wrong. The dangerous humans entered the wilderness, and people make more room for themselves by murdering -- hunting -- the original occupants.

John Lambert, North Babylon

The proposal by the Long Island Farm Bureau and the Department of Agriculture suggests culling 3,000 whitetail deer on the East End. I suggest that the state Department of Environmental Conservation investigate a hunter-based management program instead.

Give hunters more access to parks, wildlife refuges and sanctuaries that have been off-limits. Ease the restrictions that require a hunter to be 500 feet from an occupied dwelling. Legalize the use of crossbows, and allow them during the regular archery season in Suffolk County.

Also, allow the use of shotguns and muzzleloaders earlier in the season. Reduce the 10-acre requirement to use a shotgun down to five acres. Legalize the use of buckshot, which travels a shorter distance and thus is safer. Create stations that allow hunters to drop off deer that they don't want for their personal consumption.

Jonathan Landrio, Hampton Bays

There are lots of misconceptions about deer, how to manage them and the risks associated with them. Worries about Lyme disease and motor vehicle collisions are the most prevalent, and communities often blame the deer, calling for increased hunting. Unfortunately, this is neither fair to the deer nor effective in solving the problems thought to be associated with them.

One of the main problems with trying to manage deer through lethal means is that their high reproductive rate can quickly compensate for declines in population. What's more, deer exhibit higher productivity when there are fewer deer and more food is available. In other words, they bounce back.

Additionally, bow hunting has been shown to be one of the more inefficient forms of hunting and has an unacceptably high crippling rate. It is not an instant-kill method.

Increased hunting of deer has not been shown to decrease the population of black-legged ticks. Young ticks prefer smaller animals, especially mice, and can be found on many species of birds and reptiles, and all mammals. As ticks age, they prefer larger hosts. With fewer deer, the black-legged ticks may quest more strongly for human hosts.

I implore the East End to pursue more effective, nonlethal means such as fencing, plantings, sterilization and education.

John DiLeonardo, Malverne

Editor's note: The writer is an anthro-zoologist and president of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, a nonprofit animal advocacy group.

Why is it that every problem involving wildlife is met with a rifle or some other equally cruel "solution" involving a weapon?

Yes, the East End deer herds have grown too large and have created roadway hazards and problems for farmers. However, the deer didn't arrive yesterday. To demand that the problem be solved instantly by sending in sharpshooters, bow hunters and anyone else with a weapon and the desire to murder a defenseless creature is deeply disturbing.

Why are we so unwilling to approach the situation from a strategic and compassionate stance? This is a largely populated area. What message are we sending to our children? That all problems can be solved with violence?

I propose that we implement an annual program in which deer would be tranquilized and sterilized. Bucks could be neutered and does sterilized by injection.

Laurie Bloom, Southold

Evidence of need for rental housing

A recent letter writer argues that there's an "abundance of rentals" in the Town of Huntington ["Do we need more rental housing?" Dec. 16.]

One piece of her evidence is the number of illegal accessory apartments. The Huntington Township Housing Coalition wants to see fewer illegal accessory apartments. These underground and illegal apartmentsare a symptom of the lack of affordable rental housing in town.

As the Huntington Town consolidated plan reports, Huntington's 15 percent-85 percent split of rental versus home ownership is much more pronounced than the 33 percent-67 percent split for the United States as a whole. Huntington falls short of providing a balance or range of housing choices.

Nearby Westchester has a 30 percent-70 percent rental-ownership split. Rents in Westchester are 11 percent cheaper than in Suffolk because of the larger supply.

Richard Koubek, Dix Hills

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, an advocacy group.

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