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Why were shots fired behind East Amherst homes?

Resident stunned to find police officer on tree stand with rifle and scope.
Posted at 4:15 PM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 18:27:26-05

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Residents on San Fernando Lane, East Amherst were stunned earlier this week to hear gunshots in the woods behind their homes.

Rob Eimer told 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly that he was walking his dog in the woods when he heard the shots.

As he continued on, Eimer came across an Amherst Police Office on a tree stand with a high-powered rifle and scope.

The officer told Eimer that he should "get out of here" because they were shooting deer.

Eimer and other neighbors wondered why police did not notify them?

Town of Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa said it is part of long-running town program to control the deer population.

Amherst continues to have a high number of car vs. deer accidents.

The program is permitted and regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC).

Specially trained police snipers go into the woods in an effort to cull deer from January to March.

According to the police department, the operation is only conducted when school is not in session.

Officers are on tree stands so they are shooting down to minimize problems and bait is used to lure deer away from populated areas.

However, there was a problem in the past.

In 2005. a deer abatement officer's bullet ricocheted and flew through a resident's window.

Luckily, there were no injuries.

Amherst Police told Ed Reilly that the operation is supervised with an "abundance of caution" to prevent problems.

Police acknowledge that the gunshots can be heard from a long distance because the rifles have no suppression on them.

Concerned residents question why neighbors are not notified first?

Police say the locations are not publicized because they fear it could attract protesters and other bystanders.

The culling operation will only continue for a few more weeks as Amherst Police try to end it before the weather breaks and children start going into the woods.

Ed Reilly will have more on this story at 6 p.m.