AUSTIN, Texas — Deer blocking roads, destroying crops, and spreading disease, they’re just some of the problems that a deer overpopulation can cause.
That's why Texas Parks and Wildlife is coming up with one possible solution, but the agency wants to know what you think of it.
Alan Cain, the white-tailed deer program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said they’ve seen a steady increase in deer population over the past 13 years. Now, they’re worried it may be getting too high.
So, Cain said they’re considering a four-day antlerless hunting season in 21 counties, including Bastrop and Caldwell.
The season would start on Thanksgiving Day and run through that weekend.
Cain said they have to manage the deer population for the future and, if it gets too high, the deer can damage the habitat and spread disease.
Right now in that area, you can only harvest a doe with a special permit. That’s been the case since the early 1990s. These regulations vary across the state.
"I think expanding the doe season is going to be nothing but beneficial,” said Troy Michalik, the owner of Crosshairs Texas, a gun shop in Bastrop. “The state biologists and stuff have a real solid pulse on what's going on with the deer populations in the area.”
He and his wife, Devon, have several customers who are hunters.
"I know that there’s quite a few of our customers that rely on venison as a staple throughout the year,” said Devon Michalik.
They think this will also give new hunters, like children, more opportunities.
"That does open the door for a child to have a chance at taking something, versus sitting eight or nine times and not seeing a legal buck in this county,” said Jenkins.
Cain said while they’re hearing a lot of people like the idea, he said others worry about hunters over-harvesting the population and thinning it out.
"I think they need to look at how they're going to implement this, so a blanket over the county may or may not work, and it may be the only way to do it. And if it is, the landowners and hunters in areas where the does are not so prevalent need to be more management minded, thinking about the future, instead of today,” said Jenkins.
Cain said this would also require hunters to report on the official app where they shot the doe, saying that will help keep track of the population.
Texas Parks and Wildlife will hold their last informational meetings this week.
804 Pecan Street
7 p.m. on Jan. 15
Julie Wimberly Memorial Homemaking Building
814 Julie Wimberly Memorial Drive
6:30 p.m. on Jan. 16
Scott Annex Building
1402 Blackjack Street
7 p.m. on Jan. 17
After these informational meetings to gauge interest, Cain said there would still be an official public input portion before this would ever go into effect.