State drops plan to allow bowhunting at preserve

State officials are dropping a controversial plan that would have allowed bowhunting at a state park in Suffolk County.

State officials are dropping a controversial plan that would have allowed bowhunting at a state park in Suffolk County. (8/1/15)

OAKDALE - State officials are dropping a controversial plan that would have allowed bowhunting at a state park in Suffolk County.

The plan to permit bowhunting at the Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale starting this fall drew an outcry from neighbors. Many said they were worried about the safety of people and pets in and around the park.

The state Parks Department announced Saturday that no bowhunting will be allowed.

One neighbor who has a horse property adjacent to the park says that while deer hunters may be a little disgruntled, she's pleased the state decided to drop the plan. "They can always go hunt upstate, where suburbia and residential neighborhoods won't be an issue," said Cathy Wilvert.

State parks officials said their concern is more about the "deer tick explosion" that has taken place at the preserve, rather than the amount of deer themselves.

Deputy Regional Parks Director George Gorman Jr. said in a satement, "We will be continuing our research and meeting with individuals and organizations involved with this issue, as well as the individuals and supporters of Connetquot River State Park Preserve over the next several months so that we can make an informed decision moving forward."

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