Nature

A Hill Country Safety Hazard – Deer Overpopulation

By  | 

We hate spam too, we'll never share your email address

 

 

A Hill Country Safety Hazard – Deer Overpopulation

By Max McNabb

Overpopulation of white-tail deer is an issue of growing concern in several Texas Hill Country communities. Property damage, motorist safety, and the possibility for disease overtaking herds are the three key issues which have some residents calling for an expansion of deer-control. Three towns – Burnet, Horseshoe Bay, and Granite Shoals, are all considering a variety of methods to deal with the problem.

A Hill Country Safety Hazard – Deer Overpopulation

Photo:newsworks.org

Proposed solutions include: feeding prohibitions, trapping, and even bow hunting. A possible ordinance to stop citizens from feeding deer is being considered by the Burnet City Council. Burnet Mayor Gary Wideman told dailytrib.com, “…the population of deer, at least in the Delaware Springs area, has quadrupled. It has just exploded. There are some folks that feed deer directly in their driveway. About 5 o’clock in the evening, there will be 30 or 40 deer roaming across the road.”

Deer are an expensive hazard for Hill Country drivers. Each deer hit costs a motorist an average of $3,000—if he’s lucky. Deer related vehicle accidents can far too often prove fatal for the driver or passengers.

A Hill Country Safety Hazard – Deer Overpopulation

Photo: e-know.ca

Health concerns are also a motivation for the proposed ordinances. Deer ticks can spread Lyme disease, resulting in devastating illness.

Horseshoe Bay has cut down on their overabundance of deer by instituting an annual trapping policy. In the early years of the new millennium, 500 deer carcasses were collected after cars struck the deer on the roads around the town. Horseshoe Bay’s capture methods have greatly reduced those numbers to less than 200. The annual trapping begins December 5th with the permit running through the end of March, 2016.

A Hill Country Safety Hazard – Deer Overpopulation

Photo: wildlifecontrol.info

Deer traps, like the one picture above, are an effective means of lowering out of control population numbers. “It’s not that we don’t love animals,” Wideman told dailytrib.com. “Lord knows I’ve got six cats and two dogs and a hefty pet bill. I understand people’s hearts in the matter as far as the random feeding of animals, but it actually does more harm than good.”

Wideman hopes curtailing the feeding will prevent the city from being forced to turn to more drastic actions, such as trapping.