Granite Shoals City Council pulled the plug on automatic feeders being used by residents to feed deer within the city limits.
Councilors banned the use of the feeders during their January 14 meeting. The ban immediately goes into effect.
City Manager Jeff Looney emphasized that officials aren’t telling residents they can’t feed the deer.
“They want people to still feed the deer by hand in spreading of the feed for them,” he said. “You can do that. They want to discontinue the automatic feeders.”
Several years ago, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials recommended Granite Shoals enact an outright ban on feeding white-tailed deer. At the time, leaders were looking for ways to address the overpopulation of the species within the city limits.
In July 2016, the city banned feeding deer by any means, but residents voted to overturn that ban the following November.
“The first ordinance (the council approved), that got rescinded,” Looney said.
The city later enacted a controlled hunt to help curb the deer population.
City leaders recently re-examined the feeding issue for ways to protect people and deer.
Automatic feeders, which can be programmed to drop feed at certain times and in certain amounts, often bring a large number of deer to a small area. This can spread diseases among the animals and create a safety hazard for drivers.
“Deer will run across the road,” he said.
City leaders didn’t want to make it illegal to feed deer due to the enjoyment it brings some residents.
“They thought (the ban on automatic feeders) was a good compromise,” Looney said.
Though the ban is in effect, the city is offering a grace period before fully enforcing it. He didn’t specify the length of the grace period. Violators can be fined a maximum of $500.
Call the city of Granite Shoals at 830-598-2424 for more information on the automatic feeder ban.