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Deer Management
Town Hall Meeting - Saturday, June 24, 2017 9-11 at the Fire Hall for Discussion of Deer Management
Deer Management Meeting
On Saturday morning June 24, 2017, the Wildlife Advisory Committee held a very successful Town Hall meeting at the Fire Hall. Approximately 65 residents attended the meeting to discuss the results of the 'Pilot Program' held 2016-17 for Deer Management. The Committee presented a report as a Powerpoint presentation for about 20 minutes. Questions were then fielded by the Wildlife Committee members for about an hour. Discussions related to most effective methods to support (and hopefully expand) the deer management program, soliciting voluntary donations from the residents who wish to sponsor venison donation to Food Banks or specific ministries, and possibly erecting signs to encourage 'No Feeding' of the Deer, to be placed on major roads in the City. The next step for the Committee is to conduct the annual deer census (this done under guidance of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department), hold hunter safety classes for interested archers, as well as hold the rigorous proficiency trials for those wishing to try out to be a member of the volunteer archer team under the program. Folks interested in a.) volunteering for the program as an Archer, b.) donating to support the program and the venison distribution monetarily, or c.) property owners who have lots which they would volunteer for consideration as a 'harvest location' (property must be undeveloped and secluded from homes, parks and roadways) please call the City Secretary, Elaine Simpson, at City Hall 830-598-2424 x 303, or send her an email at . Thank you to all those who attended, and all those who support the efforts to reduce our urban deer herd to a healthy size.   The application packet for interested archers is here.  

This was the third Town Hall Meeting regarding the Deer Issue in the last three years held by the Wildlife Advisory Committee (WAC). This three-year-old Committee researched the issue of our deer overpopulation, evaluated proposed programs for management, and designed and conducted a Pilot Program for Deer Management Oct. 2016 through Jan. 2017. This program was the first of its kind in Texas, a municipally-sponsored program of Archery-Based Deer Management. The program was successful in reducing the number of deer in the city by 75.  Many pounds of venison were donated to the local food pantry and church/veteran groups.   WAC Chair Jason Brady spoke before City Council on February 14, 2017 to give the final monthly report on the Pilot Program and to present the recommendation from the WAC to the City Council that the program be extended for another year.    

The City Council has approved Ordinance #710, which will extend the program for another year.  


City of Granite Shoals Deer Management Pilot Program
In March of 2016, the City Council adopted Ordinance #685, to establish a 'Pilot Program' to try to conduct an archery-based deer management program.   This was a nice write up from the Picayune newspaper.  

The Wildlife Advisory Committee coordinated the program with the selection, testing and training of 10 volunteer archers, and set up 10 sites to serve as 'harvest locations'.  These sites were chosen because they were safely isolated from neighborhoods, roadways and parks.  If by chance your dwelling is within 100 yards (the length of a football field) from a 'harvest site', you would have been visited by a member of the Wildlife Advisory Committee.  This person would have briefed you on the program.   

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued the city 200 MLD 1 tags.  This equals 20 per harvest site.  It was decided to start with 200; since this is a Pilot Program.  The members of the archer team will only cull out does.  This is an antler-less program.  No fawns and no bucks are taken.  This is not a trophy hunt.  This is also not Open Season.  No-one who is not a member (registered with Granite Shoals Police Department) of the Pilot Program is allowed to release an arrow in the city limits.  The poaching laws and the fire arms ordinance for the City of Granite Shoals are still in effect.  

The hope for the deer meat was that some harvesters would donate their venison to the people on the 'Recipient List'.  

This pilot program was designed after 2 years of investigating various methods of deer management and determining that this was the only option available for Granite Shoals in our budget range.   See our city newsletter from April 2016 which had two stories related to the deer management issue.   

Please see Wildlife Advisory Chair Jason Brady's report to City Council from the Council meeting of December 15, 2015.   

No Feeding the Deer Ordinance
On July 12, 2016, the City Council passed Ordinance #680 No Feeding the Deer Ordinance.  You can read all about this Ordinance here.  

Ordinance #680 was suspended in August of 2016 and was sent to the voters in a Referendum Election on November 8, 2016.  The 'Against' votes won by six votes.  Ord. 680 was repealed by the City Council when they approved the election results on 11-16-2016.  

Citizens are encouraged not to feed supplemental food to the deer, as it is unhealthy for them.   For information on this topic, please read this pamphlet Killing Them With Kindness, which is published by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.   

May 2015 Deer Management Town Hall Meeting (Town Hall Meeting #1 for Deer Management)
On May 2nd, a Town Hall Meeting was held regarding the urban deer issue.   To read more about the Town Hall Meeting, click here.   For information about the Deer Issue, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) please click here.  Here is an article from the Highlander News from August 11, 2015.  It discusses the current Deer Census that is being conducted.  


The Wildlife Advisory Committee was created in March of 2014.  They have been holding meetings for approximately a year.  To read up on their agendas and the minutes of their meetings click here.  Recently they drafted a helpful page of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the deer management issue.  You can read this FAQ page here.  
 
On Thursday, August 13th, the Wildlife Committee will begin conducting a 'head count' of the deer, the deer census.  There will be three 'count nights' held and the results will be averaged.  

On Saturday, May 2, 2015, the Committee hosted a Town Hall Meeting regarding the Urban Deer Population issue.  The Wildlife Advisory Committee presented a slide show that you can see here. 

Three experts from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department attended in their Demonstration Mobile.  This meeting was to follow up on the recent city-wide survey of residents opinions regarding the city's deer.   

To see the survey results of the City Wide Deer survey, click here. 

The three experts from the TX Parks and Wildlife presented slide shows related to their respective fields of expertise.  

Kevin Schwausch spoke about White-Tailed Deer Management in Urban/Suburban Environments:  Planning for Success:  His presentation is here.  

Erin Wehland spoke about the biology of the deer.  Her presentation is here.  

Jessica Alderson spoke as the expert in assisting cities and Home Owners Associations establish the most appropriate management program for White-Tail Deer.  Her presentation is here.  Her presentation included an inter-active portion of the meeting, where Ms. Alderson provided keypads to the attendees (about 60 people in total) and conducted an opinion survey of the group both before, and after, she gave her lecture.  

The meeting did not end with any firm solutions, and there is currently no proposal on the table.  City leaders suggested that a 'No Feeding the Deer' Ordinance will be drafted.  This Ordinance will be customized so that there are no penalties for feeding the birds or if the deer eat the dogs food.  This ordinance will focus on attempting to discourage the feeding of our urban deer herd.  

Our Animal Control officer - police officer Ginnie Kirkpatrick - attended the Town Hall meeting and encouraged citizens to call her (830) 598-4818 with questions regarding deer.  There was a short discussion regarding the city's policy if a deer dies in your street or yard.  Please see Administrative Policy Directive #001 by City Manager Ken Nickel here. 

Wildlife Advisory Group
In March of 2014, the City Council established a Wildlife Advisory Committee to research the overpopulation problem of the urban deer in the city limits.   

If you wish to see the 'Essential Guide' to what the Wildlife Advisory Committee is doing, please review this publication from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Managing Overabundant White Tailed Deer.  

You may see the agendas from the Committee meetings and the meeting minutes from the meetings at this link.