OXFORD — A warm winter and an abundant food supply have resulted in a larger deer population in Oxford.
Jimmy Allgood, Oxford’s emergency management coordinator, tells the Oxford Eagle more fawns have been spotted this year.
Allgood has been headed the city’s deer management program for almost four years.
Allgood has worked along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks on the deer program since 2009. The city officially adopted the program in August 2010.
Part of the program involved using trained and certified crossbow hunters to hunt does and bucks during the regular hunting season inside the city limits, as hunting with guns is illegal inside the city. The deer that are killed are processed and the meat is given to local food banks and The Pantry in Oxford.
Homeowners must request and give permission to have a hunter placed on their property during hunting season.
However, a main component to deer management is educating the public on ways to discourage deer from becoming too comfortable in neighborhoods by using noise and harassment deterrents, such as installing lights and sprinkler systems, putting up fencing and removing large areas of shrubs and planting shrubs that deer are not fond of eating.
“There are some areas I cannot put a hunter,” Allgood said. “In those areas, we have to strongly rely on these other techniques.”
Allgood said he has had reports from homeowners that they have seen a decline in the number of deer in the past year in some areas around Oxford, while other thickly wooded areas continue to be a challenge.
“We knew this was going to be a long-term process,” Allgood said. “We have seen some good results in some areas, but it will be five to eight years before we really can see the effect we’ve had.”