In an attempt to appease protesters and animal advocates this week, North Fork officials have pledged that federal sharpshooters will only execute “jerks” during a controversial and imminent deer cull.
Following the cull’s official approval in Southold on Tuesday, the United States Department of Agriculture is canvassing the region to establish hunting grounds and find the population’s most irritating and offensive deer.
“We are hoping cull opposition groups will respect this compromise,” one North Fork official explained. “Nobody likes a jerk — deer, human, cat, bird or otherwise,” she said, noting, “No animal species comprises only the kind and innocent.”
Federal sharpshooter Grant Bostick said his team has already identified numerous offending deer and marked them with spray paint, to easily distinguish the animals from other, less obnoxious deer when the shooting begins. “Take this buck Steve, for example,” Bostick said. “He’s stayed safe in residential areas for years, pooping on people’s decks and patios, chasing kids and doing his darnedest to run cars off the road whenever possible.” But now, thanks to this cull approval, “Steve’s number is up and he’s already marked for death.”
So far, Bostick’s sharpshooter team has painted 113 jerk deer, but they’re currently observing 43 others to decide whether they are in fact jerks, or just noodges, nags or narcissists. “I’m on the fence about this group we’re scouting,” Bostick said. “All 43 deer are kind of annoying, but I’m not comfortable calling any of them mean spirited or criminal.”
The sharpshooter said he’d know more by Monday, when his team would make an official designation and mark the worst deer for culling. Bostick noted that several other teams are doing similar work in various sectors around Southold Township. “You’d be surprised how many deer display antisocial and deviant behavior,” he said. “I just learned most deer don’t even like eating flowers and garden plants — they just do it to be [email protected], ” Bostick continued. “So, rest assured, we’ll have plenty to shoot once this thing gets green-lit and the teams go weapons free.”
Despite Southold’s approval of the cull, there’s no guarantee Bostick and his fellow sharpshooters will actually get to ply their trade. Deer advocacy groups are attempting to stop the cull through legal means, but it’s a race against time, and the “jerk compromise” has done little to slow their efforts.
On the South Fork, East Hampton caved to opposition pressure and bowed out of the cull last week, but North Haven Village is considering its options with an unaffiliated private contractor.