Regulated deer hunting is a requirement for managing white-tailed deer populations and the habitats that they occupy. In the past, deer hunting for whitetail, axis deer and other exotic species has taken place a Kerrville-Schreiner Park in Kerrville, Texas. Area bow hunters will get another chance this year to help manage the deer population at the city-owned Kerrville-Schreiner Park through a continued lease with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
The Kerrville city council voted Tuesday to renew the agreement for the annual hunt that has taken place in the park since 2008. Each year, about 60 public hunters are drawn in a lottery for the chance to bow hunt in the 517 acre park off Bandera Highway. The city started the program with the state in 2008 to manage the deer population in the park. At the time, there were estimated to be more than 100 whitetail deer in the park, in addition to numerous axis and blackbuck antelope. TPWD recommends a deer density of one deer for every 15 to 20 acres of habitat.
In addition to the diminished natural food sources, the high density of the deer population led to problems for passing motorists. In the first year of the hunt, 32 deer were harvested from the park during the public hunts. In subsequent years, there were 13, 24 and 17 deer taken by bow hunters.
Since the city began working to manage the whitetail deer population, feeding deer has been prohibited in the park. Visitors also are discouraged from interacting with the deer, which for years were so tame they would walk up to vehicles and people.
“The most significant reason for partnering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the bow hunts is to manage our wildlife population,” said Mindy Wendele, director of business programs for the city. “A bonus to the partnership is having Kerrville in a statewide program that could bring new visitors to our city.”
The bow hunt that occurs in the park also brings in revenue. The city receives a payment of about $4,000 annually from TPWD for the hunt. Because the Kerrville-Schreiner Park is inside the city limits, hunters are limited to archery only. They also are given limited geographic areas to hunt away from the boundaries of the park and on the south side of the park. The north side of the park along the Guadalupe River will remain open during the month.
Hunters are selected by a drawing process through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Public Hunt Program. The program also uses standby hunters during specific periods to fill any open positions. The dates for the standby hunters for the upcoming year have not yet been determined. For more information about public hunting opportunities at Kerrville-Schreiner Park, call the parks and recreation department at 257-7300.
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