Backyard Nets Can Equal Death for Deer in the Hamptons Offseason

Young deer buck on green grass with blurred volleyball net in foreground
Deer and nets don't mix, Photo: bumbledee, Pavel Nefedov/123RF

Peril lurks everywhere, even in the Hamptons. It could be something as dramatic as a hurricane or as simple as contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite. There are no certainties living out here.

As advanced homo-sapiens, we do have the ability to mitigate some of the potential dangers. Unfortunately, with its reduced brainpower, the Odocoileus virginianus does not have that same capacity. Also known as the whitetail deer, these creatures are known to run out in front of cars without regard on a regular basis. And there is little we can do about it other than posting warning signs for motorists to beware, and to ask that drivers be vigilant.

The consequences of this interaction between automobile and deer may be unavoidable, but we can avoid jeopardizing these lovely animals in our own backyards.

Call me crazy, but the presence of recreational nets—such as volleyball, soccer and lacrosse nets, to name a few—in Hamptons backyards pose a real and present danger to deer and other wildlife, which may accidentally become trapped in them.

If you doubt this, one only needs to view a recent video that shows members of Strong Island Animal Rescue League freeing a buck from a volleyball net in East Setauket this September.

A quick Google search reveals that this is not an isolated incident. Net entrapments are more prevalent for deer this time of year when bucks are sporting their headgear and chasing around does in an effort to mate.

Recreational nets can also endanger various types of birds, rabbits and even pre-hibernating turtles.

Locally, the risk is clear given the vast number of wild animals we have in our area, many of which are known to visit our yards without restriction. Most agree the best way to avoid such problems is to remove all netting when not in use. This also includes netted hammocks, private home tennis courts (We have no shortage of these!) and trampolines, especially during the off-season when summer houses may be empty and no one is around to witness and/or address the situation.

Certainly we want our residents to enjoy exercising outdoors and hone their skills in the various sports that require nets, but we also want to preserve the local wildlife populations and save our animals from traumatic and very possibly deadly situations. Besides, returning home for summer and finding a dead deer tangled in your badminton net wouldn’t exactly go over well with the kids.

Please do the right thing and make sure this doesn’t happen at your Hamptons home.

Read more blogs by Mr. Sneiv

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