Lhota, Hunting for Votes on Staten Island, Urges Hunt for Deer

For years now, wild deer have run rampant across Staten Island, gobbling people’s greenery, littering backyards with droppings and posing a threat to motorists.

But Monday night, Sheriff Joe Lhota rode into town and put the ungulate varmints on notice.

“You do need to do something to control the growth of the deer population,” Mr. Lhota, the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief who is running for mayor, said at the Annadale Diner on Staten Island, according to The Staten Island Advance. “The next mayor is going to have to figure out how hunting is going to work.”

Mr. Lhota, a veteran hunter himself, said he favored a bow-and-arrow hunt. It would require legislative action: hunting animals is currently illegal in New York City.

Long, long ago, deer were plentiful across the city’s greenest borough, but by the late 20th century, their numbers had been drastically reduced, perhaps even to zero. Then, around 2000, deer began to rear their antlered heads with greater frequency. The city put up deer-crossing signs on the West Shore Expressway. There were reports of bowhunters poaching in the parks.

In 2008, a state survey counted 24 deer. By last year, a survey of a very small part of the island turned up 35 deer, and The Advance reported that “hundreds of deer” were estimated to live on the island.

Mr. Lhota noted that support for a deer hunt within the boundaries of the nation’s most populous city would not be universal, The Advance reported.

“Not everyone believes in hunting,” he said. “So we need to have a public debate.”

It was not immediately clear what impact Mr. Lhota’s proposal would have on the race for the Republican nomination in Staten Island, where his candidacy has divided party leaders.

Guy Molinari, the power broker and former borough president, dropped plans to endorse Mr. Lhota in favor of the former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. after, he said, Mr. Lhota’s campaign refused to return his phone calls. The chairman of the borough’s Republican Party, Robert Scamardella, who had continued to support Mr. Lhota, resigned suddenly “to put an end to recent public displays of party discord,” The Advance reported Tuesday.

Mr. Carrión was not immediately available to field a question concerning his position on deer hunting.

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