Axis Deer Control Warranted
Gillespie County AgriLife Extension and Hill Country Alliance have launched the Axis Deer Control Project and are encouraging landowners and hunters to participate.
Axis deer are an exotic species that were introduced from India to the Texas Hill Country in the 1930s. Since their introduction, this species has proliferated in several portions of Gillespie County, adversely impacting native wildlife, particularly white-tailed deer.
Exotic species such as Axis deer can out-compete native white-tailed deer because of their ability to shift their diet to grasses, once they have eaten desirable forbs and browse. White-tailed deer, however, cannot switch their diet preference, and will eventually suffer from malnutrition if grass is the only available vegetation.
Axis Deer Compete with Whitetail
Joyce Moore, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department biologist based in Gillespie County, notes, “Axis deer and other free-ranging exotic ungulates pose a significant threat to Hill Country ecosystems through a unique ability to adapt breeding seasons and forage preferences. These ‘adaptations’ have allowed them to expand their range to habitats historically occupied only by native species.”
Following a recent deer census for the Cave Creek Wildlife Management Association, local landowner, Ronnie Ottmers, expressed his concerns about the population growth of this exotic species. “Over three nights, we counted 347 white-tailed deer and 546 Axis deer along our transects. It’s ridiculous.”
Read more from Texas Hunting Times here.
Learn more about HCA’s Axis Control Project here: www.hillcountryalliance.org/wildlife