Axis deer are a subtropical species native to India that have been introduced into many parts of the world, including Texas. Although Texas is at the pinch-point between the southeast and the southwest, the area does get extended cold weather from time to time. This can wreak havoc on axis deer, especially when combined with cold weather that last for several days. It was recently reported that many axis deer were found dead in Kendall County.
Recent weather conditions have been very cold by Texas standards combined with lots of precipitation. The climatic conditions over the past few days, prolonged cold and wet, were similar to those reported in March of 2009 in Kerr County. At that time, the deer die off included axis with a limited number of white-tailed deer. Additional Texas couties and urban areas reported trouble with axis deer during that period, as well.
Although winter habitat conditions were much improved in 2010 compared to 2009, it seems cold weather combined with rain have once again taken their toll on some animals. Dead deer suggest that deer in the die-off area suffered from poor body condition created by inadequate nutrition. Bad weather, unfortunately, finished the job. Although habitat conditions are much improved over the previous winter, the importance of deer population management, proper harvest, and maintaining a healthy number of animals for the habitat should be reiterated.