Weatherford Democrat

August 27, 2013

Hudson Oaks deer overpopulation issues growing


Weatherford Democrat

By BRIAN SMITH

HUDSON OAKS — City officials continue to look into the deer overpopulation problem that is reportedly growing in the city.

In recent months, deer have been seen approaching residents up close to their homes and nearly following one person into a garage. Texas Parks and Wildlife officials came back into the area over the weekend to do a more thorough observation of deer population in the city. TPW officials were in the city earlier this year and did one look around the city for about two to three hours because of time constraints, according to Police Chief Brandon Mayberry. TPW officials also did a presentation at a council meeting, talking about what feeding deer can do and urging residents to stop feeding the animals. 

Council members urged Mayberry to schedule a presentation at the city’s September meeting.

Last weekend’s visit from TPW consisted of three different observations during various times of the day to get a better feel for the nature of the problem. Mayor Pat Deen said the problem is growing, based on the increase in the number of vehicle-deer accidents and the number of feeders he sees around town.

A three-pronged system is planned to assist in the problem. If the problem continues to get worse, a city-wide letter is scheduled to be sent to residents asking for voluntary stoppage of deer feeding in the city. 

Stage 2 would involve identifying those who are doing the feeding and making a personal house visit.

Stage 3 would be considering an ordinance banning the feeding, Mayberry said.

“We will get more stern if we have to,” City Administrator Patrick Lawler said. “If we can’t get compliance, then we will go the ordinance route.”

Lawler said having the deer physically removed can get expensive and is something that needs to be avoided.

In other news, work on the U.S. Highway 180 Middle Median Project is moving along, with completion expected around Sept. 10, the last day of the contract.

Lawler said there is still work to be completed, including the replacing of plants and some Bermuda grass for Buffalo grass to aid with maintenance. Tall, vertical signs have been installed at each end of the city and have received “overwhelmingly positive” comments. 

A number of Oak trees are planned for the medians as well, Lawler said, adding “if you have Oaks in your name, you have to have oak trees in your medians.”

The $991,000 price tag was paid for with $775,000 in city funds and $216,000 in TxDOT funds. The final price went up slightly because of the need to replace some asphalt and concrete on some medians with backfill because grass planted there wouldn’t grow.

If work is still going on past Sept. 10, late fees will be assessed against the contractor, Lawler said.

“We want people to know when you come into Hudson Oaks,” Lawler said. “You drive down our streets and you know you’re in Hudson Oaks.”

The median project coincides with the city’s need for branding and a new logo. Council members decided on using “Branch Out” for the new city tagline, which will be placed on city vehicles, correspondence and other ways.

Lawler said the new city logo and tagline is expected to be voted on during on September’s meeting.