JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
GRANITE SHOALS — A select group of bowhunters might have another hunting spot this fall, but it’s not on a Highland Lakes ranch; it’s within the city of Granite Shoals.
During a workshop Jan. 26, members of the Wildlife Advisory Committee recommended the city adopt a pilot wildlife management harvesting program for the deer population. The program calls for a team of 10 archery hunters.
But Granite Shoals officials pointed out that even if the council approves the plan, the bowhunters won’t be hunting the entire city.
“There are very a select number of properties with very few houses around them,” City Manager Ken Nickel said. “Safety is the ultimate goal.”
The city has been grappling with how to address the burgeoning white-tailed deer population. The council created the Wildlife Advisory Committee in 2014 to study ways of addressing deer numbers. The committee held town hall meetings to solicit resident input as well as worked with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials.
Other options included netting, sterilization and fencing, which were cost-prohibitive.
Council members are expected to discuss the program during the Feb. 9 regular session.
If approved at a later council meeting, the pilot program would begin in October at the start of the archery deer hunting season and stop at the end of the hunting season.
Nickel said the wildlife committee worked closely with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials to create the program.
The 10 team members and up to three alternates would have to meet a number of requirements as well as demonstrate a certain level of hunting proficiency and safety standards. The committee prefers each member be a Granite Shoals resident, Nickel added.
Some of the requirements are using specific archery equipment, including draw weight and broad head size; attending a program overview; passing a 15-question exam with a 100 percent score that contains 10 photos of “shoot” and “don’t shoot” situations; and demonstrating monthly shooting proficiency.
In addition, the pilot program would only allow for the harvesting of does, which was a recommendation from the TPWD, the city manager said.
“They believe (that eliminating) the females will slow down the population versus (removing) the males,” Nickel said. “Does can have up to two or three fawns at one time.”
Go to graniteshoals.org and click on the “Agendas and Minutes” link for the Jan. 26 meeting to find an hunting application or go to city hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road, for more information.