Long Island’s controversial deer cull proved less efficient than predicted after government sharpshooters hired to eliminate as many as 3,000 animals during a 6-period beginning in late February and ending the first week of April, succeeded in killing just 192 does. 132 animals were killed on the North Fork, with the rest killed on the South Fork, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.
Much of the blame for the ultimate failure of the program was laid to direct interference by opponents of the cull who often walked through kill zones and baiting sites to scare the animals away, as well as poor weather conditions, and legal challenges.
Those most disappointed by the failure were members of the Long Island Farm Bureau which has been complaining about the growing deer population and its effect on their livelihoods. It is now estimated that there are between 25,000-36,000 deer on Long Island.
“We went through hell to do this,” commented the Bureau’s executive director Joe Gergela, “It was a pilot project, but it wasn’t as successful as we hoped.” He also acknowledged that the group had received a $250,000 grant from the state for it.
Note: Meat from the slaughtered animals amounting to more than 6,000 was donated to local food banks.