Hudson Oaks officials fear paying price for deer population

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy Hudson Oaks has too many deer.

Or, maybe, too many new people.

The booming city on Interstate 20 west of Fort Worth is deciding what to do about the white-tailed deer wandering around town, and whether feeding them should be a crime.

“People move out here for the charm of a rural community, and some residents see the deer as part of the charm,” said Patrick Lawler, a six-year city employee recently promoted to administrator.

But for every happy former city dweller, there’s an unhappy gardener.

“When you feed deer, you encourage them, and in an urban area that population grows,” he said.

Well fed, Hudson Oaks’ urban deer have few predators around, and no hunters. So they breed.

Last November, the city passed a resolution asking residents to stop leaving out feed, corn or water for wildlife of any kind.

The resolution described a “hazard to motorists,” risk of disease and “damage to landscaping.”

It hasn’t worked.

Mayor Pat Deen told the Weatherford Democrat he is seeing more feeders.

City officials fear more than just damage to landscaping.

We’re talking money.

“Deer removal and city animal control gets expensive,” Lawler said.

Hudson Oaks operates mostly off sales tax revenue, so taxes and fees are low.

The city sent residents a brochure and plans to send a sterner warning, then have officers visit those feeding deer, Lawler said:

“We’re going to tell them, ‘It’s not a good idea, and here’s why.’”

The police chief is in charge of “deer mitigation.”

The council will discuss further strategy at a meeting Sept. 26.

Residents may like the deer more than the price to get rid of them.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @BudKennedy

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