HAMPTON BAYS, NY — An investigation is underway and charges are pending against a fighter who shot a deer outside Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays on Tuesday, officials said.
According to the NYSDEC, environmental protection officials Jacob Clark and Rob McCabe received a complaint from employees at the Evelyn Alexander Animal Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays about a hunter who shot a deer on their property.
The officers responded and found a deer near the animal enclosure behind the center, the DEC said.
The ECOs questioned the hunter, a man from Central Islip, who said he had entered from a legal hunting cooperative parking lot and accidentally entered an area where hunting is prohibited, the DEC said.
DEC’s environmental protection officials also found bullet holes in the fence and damage to a door of an animal shelter and storage shed, the DEC said.
In addition, ECO Christopher DeRose and K-9 Cramer also responded and found three used shotgun shells within 150 feet of the occupied buildings, the DEC said.
It is illegal to discharge a firearm within 150 yards of any structure in use unless you own, rent or have permission from the owner. according to the DEC website†
The DEC’s investigation is ongoing and charges against the fighter are pending, officials said.
The organization’s executive director, Virginia Frati, described the shots fired outside the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center and said she was shocked by what she found as she rushed outside to investigate.
“I saw a hunter shot a deer that was still alive near our raccoon lofts,” she said.
The two loud shots were heard around 9:30 a.m., Frati said. She picked up the deer, her arms, face, pants and glasses covered in blood, and tried in vain to save it, she said. But despite her best efforts, the deer died.
“It was the most horrible, traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced,” Frati said. “I was just sobbing.”
She believes it is a deer that was released after rehabilitation from the center, Frati said.
Frati was also busy trying to stop the hunter who was seen about 10 meters from the rescue center after shooting the deer.
“I said, ‘What are you doing? Do you know where you are? You’re in an animal hospital,'” she said.
He told her he was lost and that he was sorry, she said.
Frati said she asked the man to follow her inside so they could call the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, but by the time she finished her efforts to help the deer, the hunter was gone. He was eventually found near the parking lot just south of Bellows Pond Road by Southampton Town Police and the DEC, Frati said.
The problem is not new, Frati said. For about 20 years, she’s been begging Suffolk County officials to end an agreement that allows hunters to traverse a strip of county-owned land to reach the New York state-sanctioned Henry’s Hollow hunting grounds adjacent to that lot.
Over the years, Frati said she had found arrows on the animal protection grounds and once found a hunter outside with a gun. Concerns are also centered on the fact that Munns County Park has a nature trail, filled with hikers and others, who may be at risk from its proximity to hunters, she said.
When the shots were fired on Tuesday, a snail went through a cage and got close to wildlife rescue workers, who were missing just a few yards, they added.
“There should be no hunting grounds near a wildlife center,” Frati said. “That’s like putting a porn store or an adult bookstore next to a children’s playground.”
Frati sent an email to Jason Smagin, Suffolk County Parks Commissioner.
“This has happened countless times during our time here,” Frati wrote. “I have written letters over and over, both to NYSDEC and to your office, but received a letter back from your predecessor that hunting is a traditional pastime, used to control the growing deer population and that our birds should be indoors.” It’s not our mission to raise arguments about deer, but I have to say that my colleague and I walk these nature trails every day at lunch – and this is a disaster waiting to happen.”
Smagin didn’t immediately return a request for comment from Patch; a media representative for Suffolk County Parks directed all questions to the DEC.
Suffolk County Legis. Bridget Fleming said she had been in contact with the parks department, “who are taking the matter very seriously”.
Due to the fact that an investigation is underway, Fleming said he was unable to comment further.
John Di Leonardo, founder and executive director of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, said his organization would join the campaign to end the agreement that allows hunters to use the county’s land to access landlocked state land. disband, and to hunt so close to the facility