Deer & Tick Facts

  • Deer are the hosts that provide ticks their blood meal necessary to compete their reproductive cycle.

    Deer Tick or Black-legged Tick ( Ixodes scapularis) – Adult Female and Nymph. Photo by Griffin Dill

  • The New York State DEC recommends 8-12 deer per square mile for a healthy deer population. With that density, according to Suffolk County Vector Disease Control, we would not see many ticks. A recent census shows us over 110 deer per square mile on our island. (This is an 80% increase in the deer population from when the 4-Poster program began.)
  • Shelter Island spends 77% of its $127,000 deer/tick management budget on the 4-Poster program and feeding deer 350,000 lbs of corn. (This is an 80% increase in corn consumption from when the 4-poster program began.)
  • Recent scientific studies in Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Tennessee and Fairfax VA, show that the deer 4-Poster did not work and they discontinued usage. By reducing deer density, other islands like ours (Monhegan Island [ME], Jekyll Island [GA], and Fishers Island [NY]) were able to greatly reduce the number of ticks and related disease.

    Lone Start tick (Amblyomma americanum)

  • The New York State DEC says recreational hunting alone cannot control expanding deer population AND recommends against the 4-Poster and use of Permethrin.
  • Reallocating EXISTING FUNDS to incentivize our LOCAL TRAINED HUNTERS can bring the deer herd to more manageable numbers.


  1. Cornell 4-Poster Deer and Tick Study
  2. The effectiveness of permethrin-treated deer stations for control of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis on Cape Cod and the islands: a five-year experiment
  3. Fairfax County (VA) 4-Poster Pilot Study
  4. Management of ticks and tick-borne disease in a Tennessee retirement community
  5. Letter from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Materials Management, Bureau of Pest Management to Michael G. Fletcher, Ph.D., Y-Tex Corporation (January 9, 2012 )
  6. Neighboring island pays hunters to cull
  7. Shelter Island Deer and Tick Committee Minutes