La Feria News

Port Mansfield Holds First Ever Public Deer Hunts

These 10 youngsters participated in the second public hunt in Port Mansfield. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Hundreds of white-tailed make Port Mansfield their home.

Some can be seen roaming the streets of this fishing community about 18 miles east of Raymondville. A good number of people love to feed them while others wish they stop doing so as could pose a safety hazard.

Estimates are that close to a 1,000 deer are in and around this quiet town of a couple hundred permanent residents.

So in an effort to reduce the growing herd, resident Jim Beale started addressing the Willacy County Navigation District more than a year ago with the aim to hold public youth hunts.

His wish was granted as the board a motion to hold the hunts for the first time since the navigation district was created in 1948 by the Texas Legislature.

After that, Beale started working on a project to conduct five hunts, each with 10 youngster ages nine to 17 years of age.

He then contacted a number of wildlife organizations, including the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Texas Wildlife Association’s Youth Hunting Program, to put a plan together.

Beale said each of the 10 youths are allowed to kill a goes first and cull buck as the aim is to harvest 100 deer – which is barely a dent on the growing deer population.

The first hunt was held Nov. 16-17 and will are doing on every two weeks, with the last scheduled for Jan. 11 and 12.

To apply for the hunts, a youngster need to apply online with the Texas Youth Hunting Program at www.tyhp.org, create a youth hunting account, attend an orientation, pay a $100 fee and take a hunter’s education class. Any Texas youth is eligible to apply.

If selected, a hunt includes three meals, a sleeping quarter at the Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce and an orange vest and hat.

Each hunter is taken to a deer blind by one of several volunteers and call a number once a deer is taken down.

Beale said they would like to have more youngsters from the Valley applying to hunt in Port Mansfield.

On the second hunt, only one youth, Isabella Luna of Edinburg, was from the Rio Grande Valley.
“If this goes well,” he said, “we will do it next year.”

To apply for the hunts, a youngster need to apply online with the Texas Youth Hunting Program at www.tyhp.org, create a youth hunting account, attend an orientation, pay a $100 fee and take a hunter’s education class. Any Texas youth is eligible to apply.

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