JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
GRANITE SHOALS — City leaders is continuing a wildlife management pilot program that has caught the attention of municipalities across the state.
During its regular March 28 meeting, the Granite Shoals City Council approved a second year of the program that uses a small number of qualified bowhunters to kill white-tailed deer within the city limits. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department helped create the program.
City Manager Ken Nickel said the program was successful in its first year, so it was no-brainer to approve it for a second round, noting it has even caught the attention of other Texas cities.
“It’s the first time we tried this in the city or in the state,” he said. “We were able to eliminate a number of does at a very reasonable cost.”
During the initial program, which ran Oct. 4, 2016-Jan. 12, 2017, the chosen hunters harvested 75 does with only four arrows and eight deer that went unrecovered.
Other final numbers presented by wildlife management commission chairman Jason Brady included:
• average age of the does was 4.19 years;
• 786 hours of volunteer time was donated to the program;
• 1,485 pounds of venison were processed with 395 pounds going to Abundant Heart Ministry, 105 pounds going to Joseph’s Food Pantry, and 985 pounds to individuals (by law, deer has to be turned into venison and used for human consumption);
• and the dollar value of the venison was worth more than $18,750.
The program cost less than $1,500 to taxpayers as the hunters provided their own supplies, feeders, feed, and blinds.
Granite Shoals leaders initiated the program last year in an effort to control the white-tailed deer population within the city limits.
“It was an extremely, very detailed program to help us use a great baseline for the future,” Nickel said.
As happy as city officials were, Nickel noted they also found ways to make the program better for year two such as adding more hunters and getting two of them to become certified instructors by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to teach the procedures to other hunters. The hunters must be certified by the TPWD and pass written and field tests to participate in the program.
Nickel said safety was the top priority of the program. Hunting was limited to certain areas, and, he added, bow hunters were out of the public’s view and there were no safety issues that arose.
In other business, it was announced that Burnet County workers will take on the responsibility of upgrading Moss Downs Road. Work includes a road-base buildup to protect the water pipe, which isn’t buried deeply enough.
“The county is helping with that this year,” Nickel said.
The council also passed a fence ordinance by a 4-3 vote after talking about it for eight months. The yes votes were from Mayor Carl Brugger, Mayor Pro Tem Shirley King, and councilmen Jim Davant and Tom Dillard; the no votes were from council members Todd Holland, Mark Morren, and Anita Hisey.
The new external maximum height for a fence is six feet, while the new maximum height for an interior fence is eight feet.
Interior fences are used for things such as dog runs and garden areas, while external fences typically fall along the property boundary.