News Release

National Park Service to Begin Deer Management at William Floyd Estate

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Date: February 11, 2019
Contact: Elizabeth Rogers
Contact: Lindsay Ries

Patchogue, NY – The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that deer removal operations, approved through the Fire Island National Seashore White-tailed Deer Management Plan, will be implemented during a window of action from February 20 through March 31, 2019 at the William Floyd Estate, a unit of the Seashore located on Long Island.


“The goal of this effort is to provide a healthy forest habitat for all plants and animals, and to preserve the historic landscape of the William Floyd Estate,” said Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Alex Romero. White-tailed deer have depleted native tree and shrub seedlings and saplings which prevents the ability of the forest to mature and regenerate, and decreases habitat for a range of native wildlife species. “Without intervention, there is little hope for these habitats to recover from the impacts of an overabundance of deer.”


Deer removal operations will be carried out over a period of at least two years to achieve a deer density of approximately 20 to 25 deer per square mile at the William Floyd Estate. This deer density goal has been shown to allow for a healthier, more diverse forest habitat which can support a healthy deer herd as well as other native wildlife.


“Safety is our top priority during this operation,” said Mr. Romero. The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) will carry out the operation at the Estate while it is closed to the public. USDA-APHIS employees are highly qualified firearm experts experienced in conducting wildlife reduction operations within lands adjacent to a suburban environment.

Deer population surveys, and vegetation and social science research conducted within the Seashore indicated the need for a management plan to address impacts associated with an increase in white-tailed deer abundance and changes in deer distribution and behavior. In 2011, the NPS began a public planning process to analyze deer management options and develop a strategy to protect natural habitats on Fire Island and at the Estate.


The plan, approved 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 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, one of the five NPS sites on Fire Island; and fertility control, should a federally-approved agent become available and meet the established criteria laid out in the plan


The William Floyd Estate, which was authorized as an addition to Fire Island National Seashore, is located in Mastic Beach on the mainland of Long Island. William Floyd, one of four New York signers of the Declaration of Independence, and eight generations of the Floyd Family lived at the Estate. The Floyd Family farmed the land until the turn of the 20th century, when it became a hunting retreat. The Estate is open mid-May to mid-November from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Friday through Sunday and holidays and includes twelve outbuildings, the family cemetery, and 613 acres of forest, fields, marsh, and trails.

Last updated: February 11, 2019

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