Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Beautiful but wild animals need limits

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 22, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 21, 2014 at 7:22 p.m.

Deer can be found all over the Crossroads - both in rural areas and inside city limits.

For many, these animals are beautiful, graceful creatures that share a peaceful coexistence with city residents, but others are concerned that the growing population is turning these animals into pests.

In the Victoria area, motorists must be aware of the possibility of running into a wandering deer at all times. Businesses on Navarro Street have even had these grazing animals run inside in recent years, including an eight-point buck that ran through a window into the Bank of America building in 2008.

This increased proximity is caused by many different factors, and the question of how to safely balance the deer population in more urban areas. Some communities across the nation have chosen to allow limited bow hunting inside city limits, including cities as large as Durham, N.C., and Kansas City, Mo.

This idea might be an interesting concept for the Victoria City Council to explore, but it would need to be heavily regulated to ensure the safety of residents on designated bow hunting days. Offering hunting in specific locations on specified days for a fee could help regulate the population while also bringing in some extra money for the city to use to meet residents' needs or to contribute to the upkeep and development of community parks.

If hunting is determined to be too dangerous, perhaps the city would consider offering the option for owners of area hunting leases to trap and relocate some of the deer to help boost the populations on their personal property.

Another factor that contributes to the rising deer population is the decline in the number of natural predators in our area. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, at least nine different predator species, including the gray wolf, red wolf, ocelot and the black bear, are listed as endangered or threatened. Our state needs to make an effort to restore these populations to help naturally regulate the growing deer population in the region.

In this heavily agricultural area, predators are often seen as a nuisance that can kill livestock and cause problems for ranchers. But the decline in predator populations has resulted in an increase in the population of their natural prey. That may be a good thing for rural hunters, but it can become a nuisance for people in cities who have deer eating their gardens, running into traffic and causing other problems near our homes.

Texas needs to treasure all parts of the food chain and work to restore the population of these predators in our state. If we can restore that population, the natural balance will be much easier to restore.

We encourage the city to carefully consider options to help reduce and control the deer population in Victoria and surrounding areas.

We enjoy getting a close look at wildlife, but a balance must be struck to prevent these beautiful creatures from becoming a nuisance and a danger to humans and themselves.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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