The Wildlife Education Committee (WEC) currently consists of three citizens who have an extensive combined working knowledge and experience in wildlife management, education, biological research and program development: Mr. Chris Cook, Ms. Teal Harris, and Dr. Bruce Nicholson. Non-voting participants include: Alderwoman Mary Anne Havard, serving as Council liaison; Ms. Dedie Manitzas, as education consultant; and a Texas Parks and Wildlife urban biologist, Ms. Jessica Alderson, has been invited to serve as a liaison/consultant for the state.
Committee members may be contacted by calling and leaving a message with the City of Fair Oaks at (210) 698-0900.
Like many communities in the Texas hill country, Fair Oaks Ranch has faced the conflicting issues of residents' enjoyment of close interactions with deer and other wildlife, and the impact this can have on yards and traffic. There has also been the general impression that there has been a significant increase in deer population in recent years.
In response to these issues, the City Council of Fair Oaks Ranch over the last 15 years has conducted several citizen surveys, enacted two ad hoc Deer Committees and commissioned a wildlife study by Texas A & M to estimate the deer population. One conclusion from these deer studies was that, contrary to general impressions, the population had actually remained remarkably constant over this period.
Armed with this information, to ensure a comprehensive picture of public sentiment was obtained, starting in May of 2015 a series of council meetings were held, including a town hall meeting in November 2015. Since then the City Council has continued to carefully move forward reviewing and considering all available information and options regarding living with deer, and, for that matter, other wild animals in the area.
After considering all options, and assessing their cost-effectiveness based on experiences in other cities, in April of 2016 the City Council enacted a no feeding ordinance, which will become effective October 1, 2016. The goal of the ordinance is to eliminate feeding attractions, resulting in unnatural grouping of deer and attraction of feral hogs in close proximity to the City. Fines will be imposed for the violators.
Furthermore, a Wildlife Education Committee (WEC) was chartered, primarily for the purpose of developing a proactive program using educational materials to help us all better enjoy and coexist with the bounties of nature we are blessed to have in our community. Performance metrics that measure content and value of the information disseminated, in conjunction with a survey of Fair Oaks residents at the end of the City Council designated two-year period are being developed to ensure the mission of the WEC is being met.
If you find an injured deer that does not appear to be able to ambulate on its own, call the Boerne Police Dispatch number at (830) 816-3194 or (830) 249-8645. The Fair Oaks Ranch Police department will respond and assess the situation to determine appropriate action to be taken. Normally, deer who can ambulate will not be dispatched. Our officers will attempt to free deer that are entangled in fences if they can safely do so.
Every year, particularly during the spring and summer, hundreds of young wild animals are unnecessarily picked up by the general public and referred to animal officers, game wardens or wildlife rehabilitators for treatment and rearing. The most commonly referred animals are baby birds and deer fawns. While most of these animals are picked up by well-meaning persons, it is important to realize that many such human-animal encounters are unnecessary and can even be detrimental to the wildlife concerned. Below are some tips if you believe a fawn has been abandoned:
• Whitetail fawns are typically born in early spring through June and are very frail at birth.
• Axis deer fawns are usually born in early January to mid-April, although fawns may arrive in all seasons.
• The best action is no action, they are best left to their mothers.
• A fawn’s white-spots, relative lack of scent and ability to remain perfectly still help it avoid being detected by predators. Even if you cannot see the mother, she is very likely nearby and will return within 12 hours, usually at dawn and dusk. When she comes back, she may or may not move the fawn to a new spot.
• Do not try to feed the fawn or offer it water as it is totally dependent on its mother’s milk.