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Rye Considers Bow Hunters To Deal With Deer Problem

Rye is considering utilizing bow hunters to help cull the deer that are prevalent throughout the city.
Rye is considering utilizing bow hunters to help cull the deer that are prevalent throughout the city. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye residents who are sick of seeing deer in their yard may soon find relief. The city is considering using bow hunters to help cull the deer population in Rye.

The program would be modeled on the program used by the Westchester County Parks Department to control deer in four parks in the county. The city is looking to implement a pilot program this fall during deer season, which lasts from October through December.

Deer reproduce at a rapid rate and are causing damage to many forests in Westchester County, John Baker, the director of conservation for Westchester County Parks, told the the Rye City Council at its meeting last week.

A number of organizations joined together to help halt the problem, Baker said.

"Our primary focus was on forest regeneration," he said. "The deer population is five to 10 times higher than what our forests can support."

The deer management program has about 100 bow hunters who hunt deer at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem, Muscoot Farm in Somers, and Lasdon Park in Somers. The program is now in its fourth year, and to date has harvested 404 deer. Baker said that because the deer population is so dense and constantly moving, it could take ten years before any real relief is seen in Westchester parks.

Most residents were supportive of the program when it was presented at the City Council meeting. Some expressed doubt that the program would yield any real results. Chris Molinari, a resident of the Greenhaven area of Rye, was against the bow hunting program.

"Bow hunting is inhumane and wasteful," she said, citing studies that say deer shot with arrows are often only wounded and die slow, painful deaths. "It doesn't feel like  a solution, it just creates another problem."

Baker said that the hunters in the program make every effort to recover the deer and make sure that they are dead.

City officials will continue to discuss the issue and are expected to come up with a plan for a pilot program by May or early June.

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