The village of East Hampton on Long Island is experiencing a deer boom, a problem that it shares with neighboring towns. This year, however, the town of just about 1,000 residents will be rolling out a new strategy to deal with the increasing deer population. According to CBS News, East Hampton officials plan on moving ahead with surgical sterilization of more than 100 does. The program will cost the city about $130,000—roughly $1,000 for every doe—and so far the village board has only raised $30,000. Supporters of the plan say that the expense is worth it.

“I’ve had Lyme disease several times and it’s just horrible,” one resident said. “We should just kill the deer. We need to do it now.”

An increase in Lyme disease is just one of the concerns associated with a growing deer population in close proximity with humans. Residents also worry that deer will cause property and forest damage, as well fuel as an uptick in traffic incidents. Earlier this year East Hampton decided not to go forward with a traditional deer cull by sharpshooters after protests by both animal rights advocates and hunters. Instead of expanding the deer hunting season, however, East Hampton’s Village Preservation Society convinced the board to opt for a surgical sterilization instead.

“There are some among us who do not approve of hunting, who are philosophically opposed to hunting,” Kathleen Cunningham, executive director of the Village Preservation Society, told Newsday. “There are also some among us who hunt and approve of hunting. What we found more ethically challenging was that nothing was being done.”

Newsday reported that the village is looking at hiring White Buffalo Inc., a non-profit deer management service, to sterilize the animals. The actual operation involves a team of four biologists and at least one veterinarian, who will work at night. The does are tranquilized at a bait site and then transported elsewhere for a 12-minute surgery to remove their ovaries. Workers then tag the does so hunters will recognize which deer have been sterilized in the following season.

White Buffalo president Tony DeNicola says that a team can sterilize up to 20 does in one night. In 2012 White Buffalo employees managed to successfully sterilize 137 does over a two-week period in nearby Cayuga Heights.

The decision to surgically sterilize deer is not likely to please local hunters, who wanted an expansion of where they were allowed to hunt in the area. Local hunting organizations, such as Hunters for Deer, told The East Hampton Press earlier this year that deer are living in places where hunters were not allowed to harvest them. Sportsmen said that hunting is cheaper and more effective at lowering deer populations than sharpshooters or sterilization.

Image from ForestWander on the Wikimedia Commons

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  • Nathan Haberland

    You cannot sterilize deer they need to keep the deer herd up or the deer will go extinct and that’s why you guys have deer hunters all around the world to lower the herds. I think deer hunting is more cost effective in my opinion and you can’t let the corrupt government take the rights of deer hunting away from us and I am very digusted hearing this news and all the deer hunters out there needs to fight back and do a petition or try to let us hunters talk to the people who are trying to destroy the deers breeding and passing on the bucks genes to the next generation of deer to survive in the wild.

  • kris littledale

    I find it somewhat amusing in a shaking my head in disgust sort of way that this town is going to spend $130,000.00 sterilizing deer when hunters would happily cull the population and give most of the meat to soup kitchens and such. This is just SO STUPID! Feed the hungry at no cost to the town or spend $130,000.00 sterilizing deer. I say let the hunters feed the hungry and screw this nonsense about paying people to sterilize deer.

  • Ron Timms

    Hunting will reduce the problem immediately whereas sterilisation will take years to be effective. I agree with Nathan that genetics will suffer if breeding is interrupted but there will still be plenty of Does around for a few years based on the number of does being sterilised. Seems to be a misguided waste of money to me?

  • 9Spoon9

    Heck, ship a a couple of boxcar loads of them to the area around here. Our deer numbers CRASHED following two years of drought which brought about disease. Chronic Wasting Disease was already a concern in a few northern/northeastern counties of MO. Then Blue Tongue and Hemorrhagic Disease wiped out large concentrations/populations of whitetails across a lot of central MO. Living on a farm, wasn’t unusual to see 1-10 deer daily within eyesight of the house. Grand total this year to date is 2. That’s it from deer abundance to almost complete absence and the impact took not only the young, but many beautiful trophy-sized bucks and established momma does off the face of the Earth. As for those that wish to spend money trying to sterilize wild critters…much better all the way around to push hunting methods and increase bag limit to cull the numbers. That’s a win-win for all. Deer won’t be wasted; they will be eaten. Not foolishly spending $$$, but generating/stimulating revenues while allowing folks to do as God intended when he put forth animals as prey species to provide for predators. I guess they could go hawg wild and import several mountain lions and watch their pups and kitties go missing as well as putting a dent in the whitetail deer population. Stupid is as stupid will do without considering the short and long-term effects. Why I’d betcha Monsanto can come up with yet another “cure” for a different pest. Geeze…………..

  • Kimberly Webb

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Why the hell would a town pay $130,000+ to sterilize a bunch of Does? Why not transplant a bunch in area’s that need them or allow the hunters to harvest them? If your so concerned about preserving their lives and don’t want to allow hunters to harvest them then relocate them. It puts their bodies under less stress with no healing process. And it’s cheaper. Stupid, Stupid, STUPID!!!!!

  • Here’s a novel idea… extend the deer hunting seas for 3-5 days… sell culling tags for the regular rates and allow hunters to come in an cull the herds.

    You’ll effectively reduce the deer population as well as GENERATE income as opposed to creating expense. You’ll also give a boost to the local economy as hotel, restaurant and service industries will enjoy an increase in consumer spending during the extended hunt.

    Everyone except those domestic terrorists also known as animal rights activists will be happy.

  • george

    Is not contraception covered under affordable O’Bama care?

  • bobauss

    Guys…these are very rich people….most of them value the “cute Bambi like deer” far more than fellow humans or especially the savage, craven, killing machine, hunters.

  • Animals are great

    As long as they use their own money and not everyone else’s. Probably bow hunters are scarce around there. Maybe they would like some wild hogs to add to the mix.

  • Julie Davis

    What kind of Biologist would think this is a good idea? Bad, plan, but I say let them have at it. Then down the road we will have proof, once again of the horrible damage tree huggers do when they try to ‘save’ the poor little animals. Hunting is more humane. Juli

  • Robert

    They have no idea what they are doing, the are liberal tree huggers who would rather play god, than let a sportsman take them humanely.