Bad Timing - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2097622

Bad Timing

While I can certainly appreciate the “thrill of the hunt” for those who engage in the sport, I am somewhat taken aback by the decision by the State Department of Environmental Conservation to allow registered hunters to access the DEC-owned woods and fields here on the East End of Long Island, by introducing a wild turkey hunt for the entire month of May [“Get Ready for Spring Turkey Hunting in Suffolk County,” In the Field, Sports,, February 28].

Although limited to predawn through noon, the timing seems to totally disregard the interests of others who enjoy early morning bike rides, hikes, dog walks and birding for an entire month, at the beginning of spring. We all are a little tired of being cooped up inside.

When this proposal by the DEC was introduced about a year ago, many local birding, biking and hiking groups informed their memberships of the proposed changes, along with requests to contact the DEC directly with their concerns and with their dismay at the change from a youth weekend hunt season to a full-month, open-to-all wild turkey hunt. It appears that effort was ineffective — and no offer of a compromise was ever suggested or put in place by the DEC. Options could include alternating days or limiting the hunt to two alternating weeks.

My personal, admittedly vested interest in this issue is that, as a trip leader of the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society, the places our field trips go to hear and see the migrating birds and our locally nesting birds in spring become severely limited.

The good news might be that the DEC owns many woodlands, fields and land. That prevents the land from being built upon. The bad news is, obviously, that the great number of hikers, walkers, birders and bike riders are excluded from enjoying that public land not only during the winter hunting season but also now during the entire month of May.

Again, I respect your right as hunters, but please respect the right of others to enjoy the reawakening of spring sights and sounds safely. Please follow the advice of columnist Mike Wright and write to our local elected officials (town, county and state) to express your concerns over the introduction of the May wild turkey hunt season. Limit the locations, don’t expand them!

Eileen Schwinn

East Quogue