Thousands of South Fork residents received a flier in the mail Monday from two brothers requesting to lease rights to hunt deer on their property, and North Fork residents can expect the same flier in the mail later this week.
The brothers, Chris and Mike Geraghty, of Ridge, say they have 25 years experience bowhunting on Long Island and they are seeking long-term leases on farmland or other suitable property.
“i’m not getting a return on this other than I’m getting a place to hunt,” Chris Geraghty said Tuesday.
With the deer population being such a hot issue at the moment, he said he thought it a good time to reach out to residents.
He has saturated the South Fork with the mailers, about 9,870 delivered via U.S. Postal Service Every Door Direct Mail from Southampton to as far east as Amagansett, he said. On Wednesday, he will drop off another 9,000-plus fliers for distribution from Peconic to Orient.
Geraghty said deer hunting is not a sport for him—”It’s a lifestyle for me…kind of like who i am.”
He added that he is not a trophy hunter; he eats what he shoots and “you can’t eat the antlers.”
“I live on venison,” he added. “I’ll shoot as many does as I possibly can, because that’s what will reduce the population.”
Geraghty is critical of a plan among East End municipalities to hire U.S. Department of Agriculture sharpshooters to cull the deer population. He said he doesn’t think taxpayer dollars should be used, and asked, “What’s gonna happen when, God forbid, one of those bullets goes through somebody’s house?”
However, he said his mailer is not in response to that idea—bowhunting is just what he enjoys.
Geraghty said there are a few criteria that must be met to hunt on private property. Hunters may not be with 500 feet of a home, school or any adjacent property where they do not have permission to hunt. Bowhunters must only hunt within season, October 1 to December 31, unless the property owner has secured a nuisance permit from the state Department of Conservation, he explained.
He has received a couple responses already, including one phone call from a woman in Sag Harbor who “wasn’t really happy,” he said. “She was offended by it. But I can’t please everybody.”
He said personally he has had Lyme disease—with is spread by deer ticks—twice and he lost two dogs to Lyme. He has also had more than one car accident involving deer. According to Geraghty, reducing the deer population on the East End will curb the spread of Lyme, reduce car accidents and protect farmers’ crops. His mailer reads, “We pay you to help minimize the damages deer cause!”
Many East End residents are opposed to culling deer in any form, whether it be by sharpshooters or sportsmen. East Hampton Group for Wildlife has its “No Cull Rally” planned January 18 at 1 p.m. in East Hampton at the Hook Mill.