Deer in Riverside

A group of deer rest on the Riverside Golf Course in April 2020.

Deer are not difficult to find roaming the more than 500 acres of Riverside Park in Victoria.

But up until recently, the density and make up of the park’s deer population had not been looked at closely.

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Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at kvenable@vicad.com.

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

(8) comments

Allen T Coffey

Bow hunting is a different animal with different, more difficult to acquire skills from hunting with a rifle or shotgun. If the City wants to invest the time to teach those skills, then go for it. Otherwise leave the inexperienced gun hunters out of any scheme to hunt deer and hogs in the park.

Allen T Coffey

Glenn, I echo your concerns about rifle fire. Any caliber bullet that will easily drop a mature buck will have a fairly long range if it misses its target. How is the City going to prevent that? The zoo is down there, people live in the vicinity, and are they going to close down the cemeteries while this program is in operation?

If City is just interested in removal of excess deer and all of the hogs, perhaps instead of giving inexperienced hunters the job of removing the animals, perhaps hire some professional hunters who know what they're doing to take care of the situation safely.

Glenn Wilson

"...staff will have to flatten the area hogs dig up with tractors" -- Or maybe "using tractors, staff will have to flatten the area hogs dig up." unless the hogs really are using tractors to dig. BTW, will the deer be dispatched by bow and arrow or rifle fire? Riverside Park is a multipurpose public facility and is in no way set up to be used as a rifle range. Also, there's a large residential area along the east side of the park as well as an RV campground in the park. What could possibly go wrong with that, right?

Kali Venable Staff
Kali Venable

Hi Glenn, these are good questions. I asked the park's director about hunting methods because the distance a bullet can travel and proximity of residential neighborhoods are things I was also thinking about while trying to visualize how this program would work. The planning for the hunts is still in the early stages so the city did not have concrete answers to these questions, but all parties involved are looking into the viability of hunting with bows, rifles or shotguns. The direction of fire/aim will also be very calculated from what I've been told. Because the city is in the early stages of planning with TPWD and the Texas Youth Hunting Program, many logistical questions do not yet have answers. We will continue reporting on this program as it is developed. Thank you for always reading and engaging, Glenn.

HR Mallory

Thank you Kali I appreciate all the information.

I do believe there are multiple ways that this can be a safe endeavor for all concerned.

Riverside Park is 500 acres and is more than just the Zoo, Splash Pad, Playgrounds, Duck pond, Golf Course and Baseball diamonds. There is plenty of space to accomplish this project and definitely a need.

I look forward to hearing more about the plans as the details are worked out and become finalized. This is great opportunity for local sportsmen and sportswomen to teach a younger generation valuable skills such as patience, hunting safety along with the benefits of appropriate wildlife management. The fact that program is being designed for a population that doesn’t typically have access to these types or opportunities is great too.

Glenn Wilson

Once all the areas you mentioned are subtracted from the 500 acres there isn't much left, and what there is is scattered about in pieces. The youth hunting program and all it's benefits is a great idea and could easily be done on a deer lease. Trying to combine that with wildlife management in Riverside Park qualifies as a seriously half vast scheme. If hogs and deer are a problem they can be trapped. Shooting isn't the only option. There's a good reason why discharging a firearm inside the city limits is illegal.

Glenn Wilson

Thanx for the reply Kali. I sincerely hope the folks who had the initial inspiration for this really bad idea suddenly wake up and realize that Riverside Park is a full-time city park, not a part-time deer lease. Seriously.

HR Mallory

Well if all you need is 10 acres to shoot on your own property out in the county, I feel confident that a way to safely hunt on 660 acres at the edge of the city limits can be accomplished safely. If they determine that it’s not safe for rifle/shotgun use then bow works well. To provide youth the opportunity it’s well worth the discussion and effort.

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