WPCNR NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH. By Linda Conte. October 5, 2014:
I have been robbed again.
Working with Teatown Lake Reservation, Westchester County has opened the park for hunting (in broad daylight) from 4:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday from October 1st through December 31st.
No longer will I be taking my dog for his favorite walk; no longer can I enjoy the bird chatter and the changing landscape in the woods as Autumn arrives.
I have been robbed twice in the last eight months.
Last January, I was robbed of my feelings and experiences of the Teatown area, where the towns of Cortlandt, Yorktown and New Castle come together, as a peaceful, beautiful, quiet place where nature and people lived together in peace. A location eagerly sought, containing old stone walls, huge trees and lots of good memories and the home of an 1000 nature preserve, but that day everything changed and the whole Teatown area was robbed.
In February 2014 in the late afternoon, near the red house on the corner of Spring Valley and Blinn Roads, a lone deer, beautiful between the trees, posed in the woods.
Driving down Blinn Road, toward Ossining, at about 6 p.m. that night, we were reminded again of how precious and poignant the area is, when we followed, slowly and at a distance, three young deer, beautiful, majestic and vulnerable, down the road, and watched how difficult it was for them to find a place to get off the road, a place where they could navigate the deep snow and icy conditions, to get into the woods, supposedly to safety.
Shortly after we arrived home that night at about 9 p.m. everything changed.
On that night, thanks to Teatown “Nature Preserve”, there was secrecy, trucks plowing through Teatown trails, and people in camouflage uniforms and carrying rifles. Deer, baited by Teatown during last years’ difficult winter weather and during an especially hard time to find food, wandered into familiar land which recently had boasted “deer snacks”, pristine areas familiar to the deer as resting places, suddenly turned into deer-killing fields.
The police were called.
Later, a Teatown Lake Reservation administrator was out in the road taking pictures of the cars passing in the street and threatening local neighbors, Teatown members and supporters.
We didn’t know then how many deer lost their life that night. (The shooters wouldn’t talk.) We didn’t know how many young deer, lost and orphaned, were suddenly alone during the monumental storm and difficult weather that followed.
We didn’t know how much blood and gore was covered by the many pure white snowfalls which followed.
We did later learn that during the prolonged hunting period, eleven deer lost their lives – not the 75 deer per year that Teatown has permission to kill through 2019.
Today I was robbed again.
When I drew up to my regular dog walking location, where I have walked our dogs year round with family, friends and new acquaintances for over ten years, in all kinds of weather, I was greeted at the park entrance by a hunter in full hunting regalia, getting ready to go hunting at the Bald Mountain Park/John Hand Westchester County Park entrance on Blinn Road in Croton, near Teatown Lake Reservation.
At the kiosk, he was signing in. On the ground was some equipment, including arrows.
After years of enjoying the quiet and serenity of a walk through the woods, enjoying the beautiful leaves and their vibrant colors as Fall progresses, today I have been robbed of this opportunity from Monday through Friday until 2015.
And the Teatown “nature preserve” will also be allowing bow hunting until 10 a.m. each day during the day using the same calendar. Although the park is officially still open, I cannot imagine exposing my dog and myself to possible harm, and the possible horror of finding the blood stains and the remains of a deer in the park. And, frankly, I am not anxious to visit deer killing fields ever.
Today I was robbed of the years of wonderful experiences and beautiful nature memories.
Robbed – forever.