A very serious situation is developing right now on the North Fork of Long Island. And I think it is possible that the South Fork, the North Fork’s big brother, can do something about it.
At the present time, there is gunfire and death on the North Fork resulting from federal sharpshooters brought in, with public money, to inflict the ultimate penalty upon the deer that up until now have resided peacefully and without incident there. The sharpshooters arrived for the deer cull last week. They are now out firing away with their high-powered rifles, working at night while hiding up in trees, luring unsuspecting deer over to them by dropping bait to the ground below, and then dispatching their victims with laser-like accuracy. They will be here until the end of March. Their goal is to kill as many as 1,000 of these helpless creatures.
It is hard to imagine us here in the Hamptons, on the South Fork, standing by helplessly while this goes on. And we should not.
I should point out at this time why it is that the federal sharpshooters are now conducting their kill at public expense on the North Fork and not on both the North and South Forks, as originally discussed.
The reason is money. Here on the South Fork, a prominent billionaire, Hans Van der Klerk, on his own, provided the funds to take care of the deer problem. He knew that both forks were talking about signing up to bring in the sharpshooters. And he did something about it.
In late December, before their arrival, he flew in from his native South Africa 26 lions, housed them in his 17-car garage until the holidays were over, and then, after warning everyone to remain indoors, released them into the wilds of the South Fork to do their work. Thus the deer were dealt with in a way consistent with Mother Nature’s dog-eat-dog rules. The lions, sated, were flown home. And then, in late January, the South Fork opted out of using taxpayer money to pay for the sharpshooter program. There was no need for them anymore.
Unfortunately, there is no such billionaire on the North Fork. They are a poor region, filled with simple peasants toiling away as potato farmers, flock shepherds, wine-grape and vegetable growers. It’s unfair, but sometimes life is like that. That is not to say that the North Forkers are unhappy people. They have their strawberry festivals and wine tastings and potato harvests and often carry on playing their native music in a most merry way. They enjoy life. But now there is THIS.
Obviously, those of us here in the Hamptons, on the South Fork, with our great wealth and success, cannot directly intervene in what is happening on the North Fork. That is their internal affair. On the other hand, we can respond to the anguished cries of the victims, hungry, frightened and suffering through a terrible time.
We can do two things. We can, first of all, at relatively modest cost, organize food convoys. Though it is too dangerous to send in trucks with bales of leaves, grasses and flowers for the deer, even with white flags on the fenders, there is nothing that would prevent us from conducting a food drop by helicopter. We billionaires have as many as a hundred helicopters, often just sitting on airport runways, idling with the pilots eating sandwiches and listening to the radio, waiting for the few times they are called upon to ferry their billionaires thither and yon. The North Fork has no helicopters. For us to use ours for an airlift would be easy to organize and carry out. The hundreds and thousands of people on the South Fork involved in environmental activities could gather up the vegetation and bring it to the potato farms, where it can be crushed into bales and transported to the waiting helicopters at the airports. White flags on the helicopters would be easily visible from the ground. The effort would surely go unopposed.
The other thing we here in the Hamptons can do is create a way out for the refugees. Working with all the builders, landscapers, carpenters and maintenance workers with shovels and other construction equipment here in the Hamptons, we can secretly and very quickly dig tunnels extending under the bay that separates the two forks, then, using dog treats, lure the desperate and frightened victims into the tunnels and, with cowboys from Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk hired to sit on horseback at the end of the tunnels, urge them on through to the South Fork in great herds and convoys. Here, they could settle in the woods that border the northern fringes of the South Fork until such time as the sharpshooters leave, perhaps early, thinking their job is done, at which time the cowboys can come in again and drive the deer back through the tunnels to their homeland.
How, you might ask, do we keep the North Fork deer from simply melting off into the woods and out into the South Fork countryside to live illegally among us, lolling on street corners, hiding behind trees and paying no taxes? Easy. It’s a bitter cold winter. There is little vegetation growing this time of year, little more than just enough to feed even the few deer that survived the lions here in the Hamptons. So what we do is continue the helicopter airlift, but now drop the food near where the tunnels end here on the South Fork. That will keep the deer near the tunnels for the eventual trip home. This will work especially well if we include, in the center of each bale, a small yummy treat similar to the one that lured them here. They will swoon with delight at their good fortune when they come upon that, and stamp their hooves, clamoring for more. And we won’t need the white flags on the helicopters, which will make it better for the pilots since they won’t have to deal with the flags impairing their vision when they flutter against the windshields from time to time.
And no, we will not build ten-foot-tall wire fences to create great refugee camps of several hundred acres enclosing the tunnel ends. We are South Forkians. Hamptonites. We are a humane, gentle people who respect the rights of others, obey the laws and, every four years, hold elections to see that everybody gets one vote to choose our leaders.
Helping the North Fork deer to survive the onslaught is the least we can do.