JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
GRANITE SHOALS — Volunteer bowhunters only harvested 11 more white-tailed does from Nov. 8 to Dec. 12 during the Granite Shoals deer management program, a significant drop from the previous one-month period number of 44.
That brings the two-month total to 55.
As a result of the lower harvesting rate, City Manager Ken Nickel told the city council another day per week will be added to the hunters’ schedule. Currently, the hunters are only out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. With the addition, hunters will be out on Wednesdays as well.
Nickel said the harvesting drop is probably because does are not frequenting the feeders as much. The deer management program only allows hunters to take female deer.
“Bucks are coming to the deer feeders and not the does,” he said. “The does are staying away from the bucks.”
The program finishes at the end of January when bowhunting season is over.
“After the program ends, we’ll talk about the things we did well and the things we can improve,” Nickel said.
So far, 930 pounds of venison have been donated to Granite Shoals churches and Joseph’s Food Pantry to distribute to local families.
Bowhunters went through a selection process to participate in the program, which is a partnership between the city and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in an effort to control the city’s growing deer population. Since October, when the program started, hunters have donated more than 400 volunteer hours.
“I have been extremely pleased with the hard work of the hunters and deer management team,” Nickel said. “They work without pay. If I had to pay, we couldn’t afford this.”
The city manager said he only had one goal when the program started several weeks ago.
“I did not have a number (of deer harvested) in mind for the first year,” he said. “The expectation was I wanted it to be a safe process. Safety was number one in my opinion. We’ve had no incidents. I am pleased with the program and all they’ve accomplished from scratch.”
This is one of the first programs of its type in Texas.