Christmas Cull Announcement: Fire Island National Seashore Plans to Shoot More Deer for the New Year

On Christmas Day Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) announced deer culling operations will once again commence in 2022. The stated window of operations will run from from January 3 through February 28, 2022. Locations cited in the press release include the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach, which is under FINS jurisdiction, as well as National Park Service lands on Fire Island proper – exact locations were not disclosed.“We hope our continued efforts help all native plants and wildlife to thrive on Fire Island and at the William Floyd Estate. We look forward to having another safe and successful year,” said Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Alexcy Romero according to the December 25, 2021 press release. “Safety is our top priority during this operation. The Seashore has contracted with highly qualified wildlife professionals to carry out the removal operations at the William Floyd Estate and on federal lands on Fire Island. Deer reduction activities will occur on federal lands only. Areas of the park will be closed when operations are underway for the safety of the public.”This will be the fourth winter round of deer culling operations undertaken by FINS since 2019 in keeping with a Deer Management Plan that FINS announced was accepted in the National Register on New Year’s Eve 2015. Said Plan, whose final version was approved through a Record of Decision issued by National Park Service in April 2016, sets forth an integrated deer management strategy to achieve a deer density goal of 20 to 25 deer per square mile and to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. The management strategy outlined in the plan includes the following:

  • Expanded education and outreach

  • Increased deer and vegetation monitoring and research

  • Fencing

  • Deer population reduction and maintenance through removal operations; a public hunt only within the Fire Island Wilderness; and fertility control, should a federally approved agent become available and meet the established criteria laid out in the plan.

A joint lawsuit filed by Animal Welfare Institute of Washington, D.C. and Wildlife Preserves, Inc. of New Jersey against the FINS Deer Management Plan is still pending in federal courts since 2017. U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Feuerstein had been presiding over the case, but was killed during a hit and run driving incident in Bocca Raton, Florida last April.