Board of directors decides to cull deer from Hilton Head gated community

ByKristen Rary|January 20, 2020 at 4:51 PM EST - Updated January 20 at 5:23 PM

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - The board of directors of one Hilton Head Island gated community has decided to cull up to 25 white-tailed deer from the neighborhood.

“I think the board should really be aware that they should ask the opinion of the residents that live here. They’re here for us, they’re not here for themselves,” Palmetto Dunes resident Doreen DeSa said.

Some Palmetto Dunes residents were shocked this weekend when they learned their board had voted to cull 25 white-tail deer from the neighborhood. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has already approved the move.

“The deer, I don’t know, they sort of, they come every day. They come; you see them. You see their babies. And they don’t bother anybody,” DeSa said.

DeSa says sometimes deer will come down through her backyard so that they are closer to the water and she and her husband love to watch them. She says as often as it happens, it’s never been so much that she thinks that there is overpopulation or that it has affected her landscaping.

One board member said the board had asked management to do a survey of how many deer were around.

“After the survey, information was presented to the board. A motion was made by a board member to perform a cull of 25 deer. Up to 25 deer,” board member Mike Vaccaro said.

The information was put on the Nextdoor app and some residents were shocked.

“No reason was ever given as to why this was happening,” DeSa said.

Both Vaccaro and DeSa say they want more information before the cull moves forward.

“They did not even poll the residents. They didn’t ask whether we wanted it. They didn’t ask us whether we didn’t want it,” DeSa said.

“The reason I voted no was that we just need more information before [we perform a cull],” Vaccaro said.

The CEO of Palmetto Dunes said the board made the decision so quickly because they considered it a public health and safety matter. But they will be communicating more clearly and frequently with residents in the coming weeks and months.

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