Fawn or foe? Parker County town struggles with growing deer problem

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by JIM DOUGLAS

WFAA

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 1:25 AM

HUDSON OAKS -- Want to start a garden in Hudson Oaks? Get ready for a fight with the deer.

"We put in $100 worth of pansies," Jack Jones said. "Next morning, there were no pansies."

He and his wife see deer every night on their walk through their scenic, wooded subdivision. Sometimes as many as 15 at a time.

"There was deer, they was coming on both sides of the road. We met this other couple, and I said, 'Hey, we're going to get killed with deer here if we don't watch out."

He laughed as he said it, but Jones and his neighbors could have bigger problems if the deer population continues to explode in this little Parker County town of about 2,000 (not including deer).

"You'll see five, six, 12 laying in the yard," said city administrator Sheri Campbell-Husband.

She said it's not an emergency yet, but a state biologist warned that feeding the deer is causing them to hang around more, have more offspring, and perhaps have more health problems from inbreeding. There's also a growing threat of disease as humans have more close encounters with the wildlife.

So the town just passed a resolution asking people to stop feeding deer.

"[We] didn't want to enact local ordinances that ban feeding -- didn't want to go to that extreme," Campbell-Husband said.

But she said it could come to that.

Some Texas towns have resorted to trapping deer. Campbell-Husband said it would be hard for Hudson Oaks to afford that.

So for now, it's a voluntary campaign. It worked on Jack Jones.

"I used to feed them all the time, until I got that letter from the mayor," he said.

But another resident said people move to the country for wildlife, and they enjoy seeing the deer.

"People are going to feed them, whether the city wants them to or not," Bill Foster said.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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